Summer has finally arrived! This is a welcomed event for countless reasons. Here in the Hudson Valley, the ground had been in a deep freeze well into spring, and the thought of eating ramps or a local leafy green was a bleak prospect for quite a while. Now, with local produce in full supply, the idea of “delicious” is a reality once again. Which leafy was the first on my plate? It’s not the one you might expect.
Versatile, and Vitamin-Packed
Kale is one structurally “tough” green that begs to be tamed. Perfect as the base veggie for a sauté, a stir fry, or even a soup, this often overlooked leafy is what the palate and body craves. In addition to flavor and texture, kale is stuffed with nutrition and cancer-fighting phytochemicals, rendering it a super food. The Curly, Siberian, Russian, Dinosaur and Premier varieties are easily identified and located at farmer’s markets and specialty grocers.
But, What If….
If you’ve decided somewhere along the line that you’re not a fan of kale, I would urge you to give kale one more chance, using my very simple, very summertime recipe. It incorporates just a few other common ingredients, and happens to require no cooking at all. Massaged Kale Salad is another welcomed culinary invention, and combines the kind of physics and flavor chemistry that we can all relate to, including a little citrus “pop”. It involves literally massaging the kale leaves to break down their sturdy structural fibers, transforming this hearty green into a silken delight in just minutes.
I’ve been hooked on this side dish since the first week of January, and I predict you will be too. Here’s to treating the body right!
Massaged Kale (Serves 4):
1 Head of Your Favorite Kale Variety
1-2 Tbsp Your Finest Extra Virgin Olive Oil
¾ Cup Reggiano Parmesan Cheese, self-grated finely
The Zest of 1 Lemon or Lime
Salt and Pepper
2 Hard-Boiled Eggs, chopped
2 oz Serrano Ham, chopped
1 Avocado, sliced
Wash and dry kale thoroughly. Tear the leaves into preferred size pieces (salad size), and place into large serving bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and, with clean hands, massage the kale assertively, aiming to break down its toughness while evenly coating it in oil (about 2 minutes). Rinse hands. Add salt & pepper, and grated Reggiano. Zest the rind of a cleaned lemon (or lime) over the kale and toss. Optional: Add in either hard-boiled eggs, Serrano, avocado, or any combination of the three, and toss. Serve at room temperature as a side dish to any meal. Consume your Massaged Kale ideally with chopsticks.