When this kale grows up, it could be the foundation for a Skillet Caesar salad.
Skillet built its reputation on a beef burger topped with bacon jam, which sounds like something which could only emerge from a wholly carnivorous kitchen.
But it's no swipe at Skillet's meat-making abilities to praise its extraordinary kale Caesar salad, which is so ridiculously good that I caught my breath when I pulled up a picture of it before writing this post. The muscular salad, criss-crossed with fat, oily boquerones, translates kale - a staple of early season CSA boxes and macrobiotic diets - into a language that diners who came to eat fried chicken and pork belly can understand.
Caesar salad is typically made with romaine lettuce, of course, which food snobs consider second only to iceberg in lack of sexiness. While there's nothing really wrong with romaine, it turns out that stiff leaves of kale are surprisingly well-suited to the Caesar treatment. Skillet's garlicky dressing clings to the ruffly greens, which are the same gorgeous hue as the undulating hills in a storybook. The salad's finished with snippets of Parmesan and pillowy croutons that Skillet's menu describes as "buttery."
Skillet got its start as a food truck, and has an innate grasp of convenience: The burger and salad aren't an either/or proposition at Skillet Diner. If you're willing to forgo fries, the terrific Caesar will appear on your burger plate.