Massaged Kale Salad
Family can be such a great thing. My sister was attending a wedding in nearby CT and was able to swing down to the fair state of NJ for a few days to visit. Having last seen her over a year ago last fall, both myself and Mai were overjoyed to see the other member of what I like to think of as the Tran Clan Girls! After a traditional visit with my father at the local pho establishment, we ventured home to cook a veritable homecoming feast!
For the first course, I wanted to try this salad that I had seen Aartie Sequeira prepare on her new show, “Aartie Party” I have been a fan of hers since first seeing her on the contestant show on Food Network and I’ve yet to have any of her recipes that I’ve tried disappoint. This salad was no exception. Now, I’m a bit of a novice when it comes to kale having only had and prepared it maybe a handful of times. That being said, I really can’t for the life of me tell you why I don’t indulge myself more…kale really is delicious and easy to prepare. Heck, preparation is nothing more really than running your fingers along the spine of each leaf and separating the tender leaf sections.
The flavor and texture of kale is outstanding. I usually think of most leafy green vegetables as being delicate and thus must be handled accordingly. Not kale my friends. This recipe here is a perfect example of this. The salad prep is really just as the name suggests. You massage the kale with some seasoning and let it macerate a bit while you prep the other ingredients. Honestly, when was the last time you massaged a vegetable and not have it be something akin to playdough or soupy consistency eh? Here, the kale is hearty enough that the massage technique helps the seasonings and flavor penetrate the leafy goodness without compromising the texture.
And this salad really has a lovely texture. Very different from your traditional greens salad, this kale salad has a refreshingly bright and green texture and taste. The diced mangoes adds a beautiful sweetness and the sunflower seeds give it a nutty edge. Seriously, if you’ve never tried kale before, I highly recommend that you do and that you do it with this salad, you will not be disappointed.
Massaged Kale Salad
Adapted from Aartie Party
1 bunch kale (black kale is especially good), stalks removed and discarded, leaves thinly sliced
1 lemon, juiced
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
2 teaspoons honey
Freshly ground black pepper
1 mango, diced small (about 1 cup)
Small handful toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds) or sunflower seeds, about 2 rounded tablespoons
In large serving bowl, add the kale, half of lemon juice, a drizzle of oil and a little kosher salt. Massage until the kale starts to soften and wilt, 2 to 3 minutes. Set aside while you make the dressing.
In a small bowl, whisk remaining lemon juice with the honey and lots of freshly ground black pepper. Stream in the 1/4 cup of oil while whisking until a dressing forms, and you like how it tastes.
Pour the dressing over the kale, and add the mango and pepitas or sunflower seeds. Toss and serve.
Can be stored in the fridge, in an airtight container, for about 3 days