Collard and Little Gem Salad

A Southern, seasonal spin on a Caesar that’s fit for the holiday table

Photo: Emily Dorio

Rob Newton, the executive chef of Savannah’s Fleeting, is known to frequent local farmers markets to keep a pulse on the changing seasons. Not surprisingly, the anchor restaurant of the Thompson hotel is offering a prix-fixe Thanksgiving dinner that’s decidedly fresh, and not just in terms of ingredients. How about a sweet potato soup with pumpkin seed romesco and, in lieu of turkey, guinea hen?

Rounding out the menu’s first course is a Caesar-esque salad that utilizes a cold-season leafy green, but not the one that typically graces autumn spreads. “I have long thought collards are more interesting than kale,” Newton says. Finished with lemony toasted bread crumbs, it’s the right blend of easy and extra. Get the recipe below.


  • Shredded Collard and Little Gem Salad (Yield: 6 servings)

  • For the salad:

    • 2 bunches nice collard greens, the smaller the better

    • 6 small heads Little Gem lettuce (or 3 hearts of romaine)

    • 4 anchovies or 1 tsp. anchovy paste, as desired

    • 2 egg yolks

    • Juice of one lemon (about 2 tbsp.)

    • 1 tsp. Creole or Dijon mustard

    • ½ cup grapeseed or canola oil

    • ¼ cup olive oil

    • ¼ cup fresh Parmesan, half reserved for garnishing salad

    • Kosher salt and pepper to taste

    • Optional: A few drops of fish sauce

  • For the lemon bread crumbs:

    • 1 cup panko bread crumbs

    • 4 tbsp. butter

    • Salt and pepper to taste

    • Pinch of red pepper flakes

    • Zest of half a lemon


  1. Prep the greens: Clean collards and remove stems and stack up the leaves to cut. Cut into thin ribbons (chiffonade) and set aside. Make leaves of Little Gems, removing the bottom stem. If using large romaine, cut into a size appropriate for salad. Mix the collard ribbons and Little Gems/romaine and set aside until serving.

  2. Make the dressing: Add anchovies, yolk, lemon juice, and mustard to a food processor or small mixer or mixing bowl. While mixing or running mixer, very, very slowly add the oils until incorporated and fully creamy. Adding too quickly will cause the dressing to not be emulsified. Add half of the Parmesan and salt and pepper to taste. Adjust seasoning, adding more lemon/pepper/salt, etc. to achieve your desired result. At this point I like to add a few drops of fish sauce, but not so much that you can actually taste it. This will round out the dressing and deepen its flavor.

  3. Make the bread crumbs: Melt butter in a large skillet, add panko, and toss well to coat. Stir often over moderate heat until toasted and brown. Season with a pinch of salt, fresh black pepper to taste, and pinch of pepper flakes. While still warm but not hot, add the zest and toss the whole to combine well. Cool until serving.


  4. Combine and serve: When ready to serve, toss greens with dressing to taste. Season with fresh pepper and salt. Add a small amount of lemon bread crumbs and toss. And more bread crumbs and Parmesan, tossing very well.