Spicy Kale Caesar Salad

  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 1 hr 10 min
  • Active: 1 hr 10 min
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings
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Fresno Pepper Hot Sauce:

1 tablespoon vegetable oil 

8 Fresno peppers, chopped 

1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped 

1/2 habanero pepper, chopped 

4 cloves garlic, chopped 

2 shallots, chopped 

1/3 cup cider vinegar 

2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar 

1 tablespoon kosher salt 

Hot Sauce Croutons: 

4 slices stale sourdough bread 

Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

Kosher salt


1 egg 

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard 

8 anchovy fillets in oil, minced 

2 cloves garlic, minced 

1 lemon, zested and juiced

1 lemon, zested and juiced 

1/4 to 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil 

Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

2 bunches kale, center ribs removed, leaves torn 

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan 


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. For the hot sauce: Heat the vegetable oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Add all the peppers, the garlic and shallots, and saute until softened and fragrant, 5 to 7 minutes. Then add 1/2 cup water and simmer an additional 4 to 5 minutes.
  3. Place the cooked mixture into a blender and add the vinegars and salt. Blend until completely smooth and pureed. Adjust the seasoning.
  4. For the croutons: Lay the sourdough slices out on a baking sheet. Drizzle the slices on both sides with olive oil and 2 tablespoons of the Fresno pepper hot sauce. Sprinkle with salt. Bake in the oven until toasted and dried out, flipping the slices halfway through, about 15 minutes total. When the toast slices have cooled, tear or crush them into rustic-looking croutons.
  5. For the dressing: Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Gently lower the egg into the boiling water and cook for 1 minute. Remove the egg from the boiling water, run it under cold water, to stop the cooking and to allow you to handle the egg, and then separate the egg, reserving the yolk for your dressing. Discard the partially cooked egg white and shell.
  6. In a mini food processor (or you can do it by hand), add the egg yolk, mustard, anchovy, garlic and lemon zest. Blend together. With the processor running, slowly drip in the olive oil to form a thick emulsion. Add some lemon juice, 2 tablespoons of the hot sauce, and some salt and pepper. Adjust the amounts depending on the flavor and consistency you would like.
  7. Add the dressing to the kale in a large bowl, and massage it in with your clean hands. If you are serving right away, toss in the Parmesan and croutons, and check for final seasoning. If you're willing to wait, set the dressed kale aside in the refrigerator for 20 to 30 minutes, and then toss in the final garnishes right before serving. This salad actually gets better the longer it sits!

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