I’ve been trying to get on board the kale salad trend, with little success. On paper, kale salad sounds like a spectacular proposition. Local? Yes! Seasonal? Absolutely! Beautiful specimens of all types of kale are available from local farms in the dreariest, coldest months. Nutritious? Sure – dark, leafy greens prevent all sorts of nasty conditions. Delicious?…. awkward silence…
However, this week I learned about the art of kale massage, from a fellow Food 52'er. Practitioners of kale massage transform greens from tough and unyielding to supple and wilting. And that’s how I like my kale. —Panacea Food
For the Salad
Cavalo Nero kale (small, young leaves will be more tender)
Romaine (or one heart), cut crosswise into 1” strips
fresh mozzarella, sliced into bite sized pieces
currants, soaked in warm water for 15 min and drained
loaf of ciabatta, crust removed and cut into 1” cubes
For the Dressing:
Juice from ½ lemon (Meyer lemons are a nice choice here))
To make the dressing, combine the lemon juice and vinegar in a small bowl. Add the smashed garlic clove and whisk in the olive oil.
For the salad…Remove the kale’s tough stem by holding onto its tip and yanking your fingers along it’s length, like a rip cord. You’ll end up with the thick stem in one hand and the kale leaf in the other. Cut the leaves into ¼” ribbons and put them in a large salad bowl. Now it’s time to massage the kale (you wouldn’t BELIEVE the day it’s had). To relax the greens, light a candle… just kidding… sprinkle the kale with a teaspoon of salt and work it over with your hands, squeezing and tossing, squeezing and tossing. Lo and behold, the kale will begin to wilt. Set it aside, leave it in peace.
Toss the bread cubes in olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat and toast the bread. Turn the bread every few minutes with a spatula until the cubes are golden on all sides. Take the skillet off the heat.
Combine the salad ingredients with the kale: toss in the Romaine, shredded prosciutto, mozzarella, drained currants and toasted bread. Fish the crushed garlic out of the dressing, then dress the salad, and you’re done.