I was inspired to teach a raw kale recipe in my Cooking Matters class after having made some really tasty kale with a delicious lemon pecorino dressing that I found on 101 Cookbooks. The director of the program, Sarah, said, “yah man, make some massaged Kale”. I explained that I teach a respectable and rather “g” rated class. She went onto explain that raw kale must be massaged and that massaging this hearty green with a little oil tenderizes the coarse leaves into peaceful submission. I said, “yah, I’m just like Kale”.
Do you guys remember when Kale was the equivalent of a doily for salads at cheap buffets? I do because I was salad bar girl at Mazzio’s pizza in Alamogordo, New Mexico circa 1989. I spent a lot of time in that walk-in refrigerator dipping broccoli florets in the home-made ranch dressing.
At Mazzio’s, we were instructed to “rinse” the kale and re-use it the next day. They were sustainable and didn’t know it. Wait, no… they were disgusting and breaking health codes. I digress.
Kale has come a long way since it’s days as the veritable doormat of the veggie world. I hear that Chloe Kardashian is having a tryst with Lacinato Kale and it aint pretty.
Today, you can find many varieties of Kale at some grocery stores. People are making “chips” with it and substituting spinach for kale in thousands of recipes. They are even calling it a super food.
I gotta tell you, if Kale didn’t taste great, I wouldn’t eat it no matter how good it was for my health, but thank goodness it is tasty and healthy too.
Back to class: There were two huge bowls of firm curly kale on the table and I explained to my ladies that they needed to massage the kale. At one point one of the ladies in the class came over and said, “Claudia, I don’t think she is doing it right.” I looked over and observed the student with her shoulders high, arms straight and hands flat on the kale. She was pressing down with serious intent.” I think she was preparing to straddle the bowl and go in with an elbow.
HOW TO MASSAGE KALE FOR ANY SALAD:
Remove the leafy party from the stalky part with a knife or fingers.
Discard, compost or juice the stalky part.
Cut Kale into 1/2″ to 1″ ribbons and chop more if desired.
Drizzle some olive oil or grapeseed oil over chopped kale
Grab little handfuls of kale and work between fingers until kale feels softer, how soft is up to you.
Raw kale goes well with a plethora of ingredients from dried fruits and nuts to bacon and cheese.
CLAUDIA’S FRUITY, NUTTY AND CHEESY MASSAGED KALE SALAD
2 small bunches massaged curly Kale or Lacinato Kale – stems discarded and chopped
1 cup orange sections – reserve juice for dressing
1 cup chopped strawberries
1/2 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
4 cloves garlic
1/2 cup red onions chopped
1-2 T Oilve oil for massaging
Cotija cheese or feta cheese for sprinkling
Dressing – whisk all ingredients and toss into salad
1/4 cup olive oil
2 T red wine vinegar + juice from sectioned orange
1 t honey
Sea Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste