Every time I mention kale to my mother she groans and rolls her eyes saying “I don’t like kale.” Talk about a role reversal. I tell her (like a mother would), “I just don’t think you’ve given it a chance or had it prepared the right way.” Personally, I’ve just learned how to massage my kale and it has made kale easy, quick, and delicious.
Of course, every time I’ve told people I’ve been massaging my kale they look at me like I’m crazy, except my niece in Oregon who is the one who actually inspired me to do this. She credits me with inspiring her to explore the world of good food many years ago. Now she’s returning the favor and turning me on to her favorite ways of making things. She and her husband have the flair for the creative when it comes to cooking. You wouldn’t believe the number of vegetables they can put in a blender and get their kids to eat!
On this past trip she talked about how she makes a salad with kale by massaging it. I had heard of this process before but I’d never tried it. For some reason I’ve always found kale a little mysterious. I guess because I never had it growing up and it isn’t something that you see a lot in restaurants.
So here’s how easy it is. Rip the kale leaves from the thick stem and put them in a bowl. Pour a little olive oil and sprinkle a little salt on top and massage for a minute or so. The tough cellulose structure breaks down and the leaves begin to wilt. You will feel and see it happening while you massage. This process changes the flavor from kind of bitter to soft and mellow. Add other vegetables to the mix and perhaps a bit of lemon juice or vinegar and you have a great, easy salad.