Kale Caesar Salad with Housemade Bacon Lardons

Source: Lucas Knox, Burritt Room + Tavern

Recipe Type: | Seasons: ,

This recipe was demonstrated for CUESA’s Market to Table program on October 12, 2013.

Serves 4 to 6


Housemade Bacon Lardons
For the brine:
½ pound salt
¼ cup pink curing salt
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons honey
¼ cup plus 3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 head garlic
1½ teaspoons black peppercorns
1 teaspoon mustard seed
¾ teaspoon coriander
¾ teaspoon chile flakes
½ teaspoon clove
1 cinnamon stick
8 bay leaves
½ bunch thyme

4 pounds pork belly

For the rub:
½ cup ground black pepper
⅛ cup salt
1 tablespoon paprika

Buttermilk Caesar Dressing
1 cup buttermilk
2 egg yolks
1 cup grapeseed oil
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons black pepper
½ teaspoon chile flakes
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Biscuit Croutons
3 biscuits
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

2 bunches green kale, leaves removed from stem and cut into bite-sized pieces


1.    To make the lardons, add all of the brine ingredients to a pot. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Transfer to a food-safe container and add 5 quarts of ice water. Let the brine cool, add the pork belly, and cover. Store in the refrigerator for 24 hours. 

2.    After 24 hours, remove the pork from the brine, rinse under cold water, and pat dry.

3.    Mix all the ingredients for the rub. Rub all over the pork belly and let it air dry in the refrigerator, on a rack, for at least a day, 7 days is preferred.

4.    Once the bacon is done, cut into ¼-inch slices and then cut each slice in ¼-inch pieces, to obtain lardons.

5.    To make the dressing, in a blender, blend the buttermilk and egg yolks; slowly add the oil to emulsify. Once it is emulsified, blend in the rest of the ingredients.

6.    To make the croutons, preheat the oven to 250°F. Cut the biscuits in ½-inch cubes.

7.    Toss the biscuit cubes with olive oil, then add salt and pepper to taste. Place the croutons in a single layer on a lightly greased foil-lined pan. Bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes, stirring every 20 to 30 minutes, until golden brown and crisp.

8.    To assemble the salad, place the kale in a bowl and toss with the dressing until well coated. Add the lardons and croutons and toss again, serve on salad plates, and enjoy.

Farmers Market Ingredients