Thursday, May 24, 2012

kale

I have a lot more to write about my trip cross country. In a nutshell, our trip was INCREDIBLE. However, as usual, the transition back to life at home has taken more time than I expected and I am overwhelmed with photos to download, emails to answer, home chores to be finished. So, those posts will come soon. In the meantime, I want to talk about kale.

If you know me at all, you know that there aren't many vegetables I don't love. I have a particular fondness for all greens and every cruciferous vegetable known to man. While Joe and I were on the road, we ended up visiting a lot of towns where we were hard-pressed to get a salad that consisted of more than shredded iceberg lettuce. After 5 weeks, we could not wait to get back in our own kitchen and eat some vegetables.

Kale is one of those veggies you hear about all of the time because of it's enormous health benefits. I have always loved it steamed, sauteed, and stir-fried, but have only become a fan of it in it's raw form in the past year. In my experience, raw kale salad is very often poorly made and I end up chewing a bite of salad for, like, 900 years.

Not appetizing.

It was my awesome brother, Sean, who showed me how to use kale in a salad. After my tutorial with him, it is my opinion that there are 5 factors to a successful kale salad: removing the spine of the kale leaves, chopping the kale into bite-sized ribbons, making a good vinaigrette, massaging the dressing-- BY HAND-- into the leaves, and letting it sit for a bit so that the kale softens a bit and the flavors have a chance to meld together.

The recipe below was inspired by a salad Helene and I ate from a Charleston grocery store. She and I DEVOURED it, (along with a few glasses of prosecco), and I couldn't stop thinking about it for the rest of our trip.

Sesame Ginger Kale Salad

*One thing to keep in mind when making a salad: buy more kale than you think you will eat.
After marinating and sitting, raw kale will reduce in size by about half.
This recipe makes enough to serve 4-6 side portions, less if you eat salad as a main course like we do. Also, this salad is great the next day. That's one of the awesome things about kale-- it's a hearty green and doesn't wilt easily.

3 bunches of black dino kale, (washed, spinned dry, spines removed and then chopped into bite-sized thin ribbons)
Sesame Ginger Vinaigrette (this recipe will make more than you need)
-1 1/2 TB minced ginger
-1 tsp. crushed red pepper
-1/8 cup rice vinegar (not seasoned)
-1/8 cup Bragg's Liquid Aminos or tamari
-1/2 cup toasted sesame oil

Whisk together vinaigrette and drizzle half of it on kale. With your hands, massage the dressing into the leaves and toss. Whisk dressing again, add a bit more, massage, and toss. I ended up using about 2/3 of the dressing, but the amount you use will vary depending on your taste and the size of your bunches of kale. Make sure you taste as you go.
Let salad sit for a while. The intensity of the dressing will mellow a bit, the leaves will soften a little, and the flavors will meld together.

Enjoy!

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3 comments:

Paige said...

I can't wait to try this. I recently discovered kale myself and have not been crazy about it raw. This sounds delicious though. Thanks for the tips! And beautiful photos too! :)

Thyme (Sarah) said...

I love when the blog universe comes together. I just came across these burgers with 'kale slaw' that I am going to make this weekend. Now, because of your article, I will pay special attention to how I prepare the kale slaw! Thanks! Oh, and BTW...you asked to see how I am putting together my portfolio. If you go to thyme.smugmug.com you can see it. You can access it from the blog too (Portfolio tab). Still trying to figure out pricing/photos but have some good leads. Thx~Sarah

Joan Leonard said...

I also have held kale as a "Be good to your body even if you don't like the stuff" food. But I love it in your quinoa recipe. And I might ask your awesome brother to make this salad for me.