I have an acquaintance who is kind of eclectic. Ok, the word I’d really like to use is kooky. She is obsessed with kale. Last year she reminded me to massage my kale for a salad I was making. The inner dialogue in my head said, “now she’s really lost it.” Why the heck would I want to put my hands all over the kale and massage it?
Well, turns out kooky lady was right and I sure was embarrassed that I had never ever heard of massaging my kale! Basically, when you massage the kale between your fingertips, the cellulose structure of the leaf breaks down, giving you a less bitter flavor and softer texture. It’s much more enjoyable to eat a raw kale salad if the leaves are massaged than if they aren’t. I’ve seen recipes that suggest massaging for up to 5 minutes, but I don’t think that much time isn’t necessary. I like to add a little oil and salt to my chopped kale, which seems to speed up the process. For my kale, green bean, white bean and tangerine salad, I only massage the kale for about one minute. I use lacinato kale, but if you use a different type of kale, you can always taste the leaves after a minute and see if you need to massage for a longer period of time. If it still tastes bitter, massage for longer. Just remember to wash your hands before massaging!!
A suggestion on buying kale: buy kale in bunches and cut yourself. The pre-cut kale sold in bags includes the hardy ribs which are tough and not enjoyable to eat. Wash the kale leaves very well to make sure all of the dirt and sand are gone.
To remove the rib:
This salad is a great brunch dish! Prep the pesto and the veggies the day before and mix the day of your event.
- 1 large bunch of lacinato kale, ribs and stems removed, leaves cut into 1/2" thick ribbons (about 6 cups)
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp oil of your choice: olive, canola, algae or grape seed oil
- 3/4 lb fresh green Beans, stem end cut off
- One 15.5oz can cannellini or great northern beans, drained and rinsed
- 1-1/2 cups of satsuma tangerine segments or clementine segments (do NOT use canned mandarin oranges)
- 1 recipe parsley-sage pesto
- 2 tsp oil of your choice: olive, canola, algae or grape seed oil
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- Place kale ribbons in a large bowl with the 1 tsp of oil and 1/2 tsp salt. With CLEAN hands, massage the kale with your fingers for about a minute.
- Blanch green beans: Prepare an ice bath by filling a large mixing bowl with cold water and ice. Bring a large saucepan 3/4 of the way full of water to a boil. Add green beans and boil for no more than 2 minutes. Beans should still be very crisp. Drain green beans and add to the prepared ice bath to quickly cool them down. Drain cooled green beans and add to the bowl with the kale.
- To the kale and green bean bowl, add cannellini beans and tangerine segments.
- In a small bowl add the prepared pesto with the 2 tsp of oil, lemon juice and 1/2 tsp salt. Stir to combine.
- Add pesto dressing to the vegetables. Stir to thoroughly coat the vegetables. Add more lemon juice or salt to taste if needed.
Serve at room temperature