At Blueprint, as you can imagine, most of our office talk is about registries. But the rest of the time? We’re probably talking about food.
Some of our team members even have some background in the food world. Our content lead, Shakti, for example, is a former professional cook and lends her prior experiences when reviewing kitchen products for Blueprint Guides. In preparation for her latest review of the Five Two Double-Sided cutting board, she created a recipe around elements and techniques she wanted to test for. And thus her Kale Caesar Salad with Anchovy Butter Roast Chicken was born.
This recipe is simple, hearty (it’s entree-sized!), and automatically healthy-ish (because kale). For all our New Year’s resolutionists looking for some clean eating, this salad is a fantastic option that won’t leave you feeling hungry and unsatisfied. This recipe yields more chicken and dressing than you’ll need for one salad, so the leftovers can be transformed into a completely different dish. Or just make another kale salad because it is that good.
To address the elephant in the room: anchovies are delicious. They truly get a bad rap and we’re extremely ready for their comeuppance. Yes, anchovies by themselves are salty, briny, and fishy (they’re fish!). But when used as an ingredient—like in caesar dressing—and especially when cooked, they take on a nutty umami-ness that fills your tastebuds with savory goodness. The payoff is incomparable, and chances are you won’t even know they’re there… unless you’re the cook or someone divulges their culinary secrets.
When making this recipe, Shakti started prepping the chicken the night before. This isn’t a requirement, but if you have the time, allowing the seasoning and anchovy compound butter to penetrate the meat overnight will result in out-of-your-mind deliciousness. Don’t worry, however—the chicken will still be incredibly tasty without overnight seasoning. Roast chicken is a timeless comfort food, after all.
The roasting directions for this recipe are for a spatchcock preparation. If you don’t want to remove the backbone from the chicken yourself, your butcher will be happy to do it for you. We love spatchcocking because it flattens the chicken, resulting in an often quicker, more even cook. The juices and fats that render while roasting, no matter how you decide to roast the chicken, are perfect for toasting up the most flavorful croutons you can imagine. This is a nod to the classic French poulet rôti, in which you roast the chicken directly on the bread. Yum. YUM.
Kale, even after a good massage (more on this in the recipe), holds beautifully in the fridge overnight. In fact, we’d argue that once given some time to rest and absorb the dressing, it gets even better. Kale is delicious and packed with nutrients, but can be difficult to digest for some folks. Massaging your kale and allowing it to rest after dressing is a handy trick to make things a little easier on our tummies.
Sure, you can grab your favorite caesar dressing from the grocery store. This caesar dressing, however, uses a lot of the same ingredients that were used for the chicken. It comes together quickly once all your ingredients are prepped, and will hold in the fridge for 1-2 weeks, depending on the quality of your eggs. Plus, you can add as much cheese as you want.
Ok, let’s cook!
Kale Caesar Salad with Anchovy Butter Roast Chicken
1 Whole 4-5 lb. chicken, spatchcocked
4 T softened unsalted butter
2-3 Garlic cloves
4-5 Anchovy fillets
1 Tsp. kosher salt (I use Diamond Crystal)
1 Tsp. ground pepper
1-2 Tsp. lemon zest
More salt and pepper to season the outside of the bird
2 Cups crusty bread, cut into 1” cubes or torn to similar size
1 Bunch curly or lacinato kale
Drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
3 Cloves garlic
5-6 Anchovy fillets
1 Tsp. kosher salt
2 Egg yolks
½ T dijon mustard
1-2 T lemon juice
¼ Cup grated parmesan
1.5 Tsp. freshly ground pepper
1 Tsp. worcestershire sauce
¼ Cup extra virgin olive oil
2 T canola oil
Splash of water to thin out dressing, if desired
Optional Delicious Toppings
Toasted pine nuts
1. The night before serving the salad, prepare the chicken. Spatchcock the chicken or ask your butcher to do it for you. Dry the chicken with a paper towel and place it on a foil-lined baking sheet.
2. On your steady cutting board, finely mince the garlic and anchovy fillets. Sprinkle kosher salt into the minced mixture. Using the side of your knife, carefully, but firmly mash the mixture and spread it flat on the cutting board. Mince and mash the mixture repeatedly until it resembles a paste. Add the mixture to a small bowl with the softened butter, pepper, and lemon zest. Mix to combine.
3. With the chicken flat on a baking sheet, gently separate the skin from the meat, doing your best not to tear the skin. Once separated, evenly distribute the butter mixture in between the meat and the skin. Season the inside and outside of the chicken with salt and pepper.
4. Let the chicken rest in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight. Remove it from the fridge at least an hour before you cook it.
5. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Cover the chicken loosely with aluminum foil and roast for 40 minutes.
6. After 40 minutes, remove the chicken from the oven and remove the foil on top. Toss the bread cubes in the chicken juices and fat collected on the sheet, and season with salt and pepper. Add a drizzle of olive oil if the bread looks dry. Return the chicken and bread pieces to the oven and roast for an additional 15-20 minutes, checking on and moving the croutons around so they brown evenly on all sides.
7. Once the internal temperature in the thickest part of the chicken reads 155 degrees, remove it from the oven. Transfer the chicken to a board and cover it with foil, allowing it rest for at least 30 minutes. If the bread pieces are still soggy, return them to the oven to dry out and brown. Cool and set aside.
8. Remove the stems from the kale. Tear or chop (I prefer a large chiffonade) the kale and place into a large bowl. Drizzle the kale with olive oil until it is lightly coated. Massage the kale for 3-5 minutes. Set aside.
9. Using the same mashing technique as with the compound butter, make a paste with the garlic, anchovy fillets, and salt. In a large bowl, add the egg yolks, anchovy/garlic paste, dijon, lemon juice, worcestershire, parmesan, and black pepper. Whisk to combine.
10. Slowly drizzle the oils into the yolk mixture to emulsify. If the dressing is too thick for your taste, dilute it with a little water. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
11. You will only need about half of the dressing for this dish. Add the dressing to the massaged kale and toss with the croutons and a little more parmesan.
12. Carve the chicken into pieces, and slice the breast meat. Arrange the salad on a platter and place the chicken pieces on top. Garnish with a little more parmesan and cracked pepper (and toasted pine nuts and/or fried capers, if desired.)
Whether you’re shredding for the wedding or looking to spruce up dinnertime, this kale caesar will leave you wanting for naught. Make it ahead and meal prep throughout the week, or eat it all in one sitting—we have your back no matter what. Enjoy!