A rubbed kale salad

kpurvis@charlotteobserver.comJanuary 8, 2013 

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-- NO MAGS, NO SALES -- KRT FOOD STORY SLUGGED: GREENS KRT PHOTOGRAPH BY MARK REIS/ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER (February 3) A member of the cruciferous vegetable family, kale is related to cabbage and may be the oldest known green. (nk) 2003

MARK REIS — MCT

  • Rubbed Kale Salad 1 large bunch kale (regular or black kale) 2 tablespoons olive oil 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (or try a flavored vinegar) 1 teaspoon coarse salt 1 tablespoon maple syrup 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced 1 cup sliced fresh mushroom caps (see note) TRIM away and discard the kale stalks. Stack the leaves and cut into 1/2-inch- to 1-inch-wide ribbons. Place in a large salad bowl. ADD the oil, lemon juice and salt and toss. Put your hands in the bowl and massage the kale, rubbing and squeezing it for 2 or 3 minutes until it’s soft. ADD maple syrup, cayenne and garlic and toss well. Add the mushrooms or whatever else you’re adding (see note). Serve at room temperature. Refrigerate leftovers for a day or so. NOTE: Instead of mushrooms, you could add shaved Parmesan or crumbled feta or goat cheese, toasted nuts, sliced fruit or diced vegetables. YIELD: 2 to 4 servings.

Ah, the ubiquitous kale. If you stick close to a local diet, that means lots of kale in the winter. I’m always seeking new kale variations, so I paid attention when I started seeing descriptions of a new technique recently:

Rubbed kale, sometimes called massaged kale. Seriously – you toss raw kale with olive oil, lemon juice and salt. And then you rub it: Knead it, squeeze it, scrub it between your palms. Do that for at least 2 minutes and the kale breaks down, softens and takes on a silky texture.

Yes, you have to rub it after you add the oil, salt and an acid. If you rub the bare leaves, it won’t get all that soft. But think of that oil you’re massaging into your dry hands as a kale spa treatment.

After you soften the leaves (and wash your hands), toss the kale with a few more ingredients and end up with a terrific winter salad. You can add almost anything. For this version, the spicy nature of kale led me to think of sweet and hot touches of maple syrup and cayenne, plus some sliced mushrooms because I had them handy. But you can change it up. Swap lemon juice for flavored vinegar. Add Parmesan, feta or goat cheese. Try toasted nuts and sliced pear. Toss it with a diced avocado.

The method works with regular kale or black kale (aka lacinato or dinosaur kale). The salad even keeps a day or so in the refrigerator.

To see a printable version of this recipe, click on name below:

Rubbed Kale Salad

Purvis: 704-358-5236 or I’ll Bite blog at obsbite.blogspot.com.

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