The first time I had a massaged kale salad was at a culinary event at a college where I worked. The theme was farm to fork and the student chefs had prepared a curly kale salad massaged with a lemon and olive oil vinaigrette, served with shavings of parmesan. The kale was raw, but not particularly chewy and definitely not tough. It piqued my interest in figuring out how to duplicate this salad, and particularly how to go about massaging kale to make it so relaxed and happy.
I’ve played around with the technique here and there over the past year or so. I’ve used oil and vinegar, a bit of lemon juice, as well as just plain salt. The technique is what it says it is – you add your oil or acid or salt and just dig in, massaging the kale until it goes a little limp. It will still maintain some shape and leafiness – this is just the nature of kale. It’s definitely more robust than a lettuce salad.
Massaged Kale and Radish Salad
1 bunch curly or lacinato kale, de-stemmed and torn into small pieces
6 sliced radishes
½ teaspoon pink Himalayan salt
Dressing of your choice (I had ranch on hand, so used it; I can see this being tasty with a vinegar and oil dressing as well)
Combine the kale and the salt and use your hands to knead in the salt and massage the kale. Add the radishes and toss with dressing.