How to make a tender kale salad?

I have seen a lot of raw kale salads around and thought I would try one with some fresh kale I got at the farmer's market. I found the leaves to be really tough and unappetizing, even though the kale was small and freshly picked. I ended up steaming it just slighty to take out the toughness and it was delicious with a Parmesan and lemon dressing, but not exactly a salad per se. Is a kale salad supposed to be so tough, like chewing leaves off a tree? Are there techniques for tenderizing kale for a raw salad?

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Kaitlyn
Kaitlyn June 4, 2012

If it is raw it will most likely be a bit tough. The thinner you slice it the better and acid of some sort- vinegar or lemon juice seems to help.

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SKK
SKK June 4, 2012

Remove the ribs and stems and slice. Then put leaves in a bowl and massage with salt and a little lemon juice and let sit. This 'cooks' it a bit. And it will be chewy.

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Voted the Best Reply!

Nozlee Samadzadeh
Nozlee Samadzadeh June 4, 2012

Massage it! After you dress the salad, get your (clean) hands in there and "knead" or "massage" the kale leaves until they go from looking raw to soft and glistening -- you're breaking down the cell walls in the leaves so they'll be more tender.

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ReneePussman
ReneePussman June 4, 2012

Raw kale is tough and bitter. Even cooked it is far more tough than many other leafy greens The best thing to do is quickly blanch in saltes water, shock in an ice bath and cut out the stalks from the leaves. Then drain and season.

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SKK
SKK June 4, 2012

Raw kale is amazingly good if prepped correctly. Kale salads are always requested around here because of the way I prep it. (See above) I am also going to try Nozlee's method. (See above)

Quinciferous
Quinciferous June 4, 2012

The type of kale matters, too. My favorite for raw salads is a kale that goes by many names: black, Tuscan, or dinosaur kale. It's nubbly looking, but in my experience is much more tender than any of the curly kales or red Russian kale (which I also love, but for braising/other uses!).

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SKK
SKK June 4, 2012

Qunciferous, I am so glad you added the kind of kale to make salads with! Makes a huge difference. I too only use dino kale for salads.

lloreen
lloreen June 5, 2012

Thanks, I will try massaging some dinosaur kale - maybe if I light a few candles and put on some jazz it will cooperate this time.

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bamcnamara
bamcnamara June 5, 2012

I agree re: massaging the kale. My recipe recommended massaging for 2 minutes. I actually ended up doing it for about 6 min. but it was delish! I would only add a third of the salt. Good luck!
http://www.cancerschmancer.org/articles/recipes/massaged-kale-apple-salad-gorgonzola

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