Everyone in the know, it seems, is touting the virtues of kale. But to the average American palette, kale takes some getting used to, but well worth it. The benefits of acquiring a taste for kale are many. Of all the veggies in the American diet, kale is possibly the most nutritious food grown in this country. It is indeed a mainstream superfood.
Before leaving for the beach I went into the garden and cut the last of the curly kale. With an abundance of Jersey tomatoes sitting on our kitchen counter, we decided to make a colorful salad of kale and tomatoes.
Massaged Kale Salad
1. Strip the curly leaves off its sturdy stems and then tear them into small pieces. Put the pieces into a bowl.
2. Carefully wash and spin dry the kale leaves. Curly kale takes some deliberate washing because gritty dirt can cling to the crevices of the leaves. Place the washed kale leaves on a towel, cover with another towel and pat dry – getting as much of the water off the leaves as possible.
3. Drizzle olive oil onto the leaves and hand massage into all the folds of the leaves. Start with a small amount, because it is easy to over-oil the leaves.
5. Cover the leaves with a towel and pop the bowl into the fridge so the oil has time to absorb into the leaves. This can be done in as little as an hour ahead of eating time, or twelve hours ahead.
6. Shortly before eating time, seed and dice some ripe tomatoes and cut the avocados into small chunks. It is the combination of textures and flavors that makes this a tasty salad.
7. After tossing everything together, add lemon juice (for our size salad, we used the juice of a half a lemon), and salt and pepper to taste.
8. The final ingredient is a sweetener to counteract any bitter taste the kale might have. You can use maple syrup, agave, honey, or, as we did, a blend of agave/maple syrup that Trader Joe’s sells. Just drizzle a small amount (no more than a few teaspoons), and mix all together.
(Sometimes you will need to play with the amounts of the dressing ingredients, because the flavor intensity of the kale leaves varies with the kale variety and the time of season.)
The result…a multi-textured salad, full of nutritious foods. Happy eating!