Kale is one of those foods I love to order when I’m out because, for the life of me, I cannot figure out how to make it palatable at home. Boiling/blanching/steaming removes the bitter flavor but does nothing for the rough texture. Kale chips taste ok but the texture is like dust. Sauteing never seems like the right thing to do. I’ve been at a total loss.
I had all but given up on kale until I heard legend of one method I hadn’t tried yet: massaging. Great, now I have to massage my food to make it edible? Needless to say, I was skeptical. If you’re like me raw kale is a no go. It’s tough, it’s bitter, it’s gritty. How could massaging make any of that better? It’s still raw, right? But before I decided to throw in the towel forever on kale I thought I’d better try massaging it.
Massaged Kale Basics:
1 bunch of kale (6 big stems)
1 tbsp. EVOO
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
The juice of one lemon (I’ve heard maple syrup is a good swap for lemon if you want a sweeter dish)
Start by rinsing and towel-drying the kale. Fold in half and cut along the stem so that the leaves separate from the tough rib going up the back. From there, cut all of the kale up into bite sized pieces.
In a big bowl, pour the EVOO, juice from the lemon, and salt over the kale.
Get to massaging. Five minutes should do. Just keep turning the leaves through your hands while massaging gently.
You will almost immediately see a difference. The texture softens, the leaves become shiny, the volume diminishes at least by half. You may even see some excess liquid start to pool in the bottom of the bowl. After five minutes, taste a leaf of massaged kale. It will be subtle, sweet maybe, but definitely not bitter. It will be earthy with a hint of lemon and salt. This, my friends, is the way to eat kale. And, by just massaging and not cooking, most of the nutrients of 100% raw kale are still there (vitamin A, vitamin B-6, vitamin C, potassium, iron)!
Check out the obvious difference between the raw kale (left) and the massaged kale (right).
Need some uses for massaged kale? Well, my favorite so far is to make caesar salad with it. Other things you could use it for include an asian noodle salad, an apple and gorgonzola salad, topped with warm quinoa and fresh veggies, as side dish with almonds or parmesan cheese on top – the sky is the limit!