I want to love kale. Heck, I want to like kale, but it has been a struggle. That is until one day, while having a kale conversation while getting my hairs cut by my most excellent hairdresser, Rebecca. She mentioned a Massaged Kale Salad that she had tried and loved. Hmm. Sounded interesting. She shared the recipe and I took it from there, making a few twists and turns along the way. We begin with kale, of course. I used Lacinato Kale, straight from Neeners’ garden. You could use the curly kind of kale also, but I just find it a bit unruly. Lacinato is very well behaved.
Once the kale is washed and dried, just lay several leaves on top of each other and slice into thin little ribbons. No need to take the stem out because you are slicing them so thin it won’t matter one bit.
Once that’s done, kale goes into a colander over the sink. Find a good sized colander for this because you are going to need some elbow room to work with. Once in the colander, sprinkle with a couple of teaspoons of salt – kosher or regular – don’t care which.
Put on some tunes, roll up your sleeves, and get to work on that kale. Yes, you are massaging it – and do not stop until you have done so for 2 full minutes. Luckily for me, Dick volunteered.
When your massaging is done, rinse well with cold water and spin dry in a salad spinner. Look at the difference two measly little minutes can make! Your kale will now be less bitter, and easier to work with. It will taste just a little salty, which is a very good thing when it comes to kale.
This salad does not live by kale alone, so here we have some baby spinach to even things out a little bit. Wash it up and spin it dry please.
Greens are now on hold for a minute while we get going on what else will be added to the salad. How about some fresh figs?
Quartered is good.
Then some bias sliced green onion (which I also swiped from Neeners’ garden when she wasn’t looking), a nice crisp cucumber, and for texture, color, and a little tartness, some dried cranberries.
Hmmm. We need some more crunch I think. How about some roasted Pumpkin Seeds? It’s easy: Pour some into a baking dish, drizzle with olive oil and salt, and roast in a 350 degree oven for about 25 minutes. If you can smell them, they’re close to being done. You will not want to walk away from these for too long just in case your oven is different than mine.
When they are done, just take them out of the oven to cool. You’ll hear them pop like Rice Krispies as they cool down, so don’t panic. Blot the excess oil off with a paper towel if you went a little overboard. Or not. Try not to eat them all before salad is ready. This will be difficult.
We are also in need of salad dressing, and for this I have chosen a Fig Balsamic number. The main character is fig jam. Here is some homemade that I did last year from my sis’s trees. If you get the chance to make some yourself – go for it. It’s ridiculously expensive to buy. If you don’t have any, or if you don’t feel like fig, then any kind of jam or jelly will work in the recipe. The jam gets mixed with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, salt & pepper.
Dressing is done, and Pumpkin Seeds are roasted…
Let’s get this salad assembled. Base layer is the super mellow kale and his spinach friends…
Everything else gets arranged on top…
I like to serve the dressing and Pumpkin Seeds on the side, and let people have as much or as little (ha ha) as they want. Besides, if you put the Pumpkin Seeds on and toss it with the dressing, their crunch will be but a distant memory after a few minutes.
Hope you enjoy!! xoxox
- KALE SALAD
- • I large bunch kale
- • 2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
- • 6-8 cups of baby spinach leaves
- • 3 green onions, sliced on the diagonal
- • 1 large English cucumber, peeled and sliced
- • 6-7 figs, quartered
- • 1 cup sweetened, dried cranberries
- FIG BALSAMIC VINAIGRETTE
- • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
- • 3 tablespoons fig balsamic vinegar, or other fruity balsamic vinegar
- • 3 tablespoons fig jam, or other deep colored berry preserve
- • 1 heaping teaspoon Dijon mustard
- • Salt and pepper to taste
- Wash the kale and pat dry. Slice the kale leaves into ribbons – they don’t have to be exactly the same, but try to come close if you can.
- Place the kale ribbons in a large colander in the sink. Add the salt and massage into the kale with your hands for 2 WHOLE MINUTES. The color of the kale will begin to change and the leaves will soften.
- Rinse thoroughly with cold water and spin dry with a salad spinner.
- Wash/hydrate spinach greens and spin until dry.
- Toss kale and spinach leaves together with your hands and arrange in a salad bowl or platter.
- Arrange all other ingredients on top.
- For the Fig Balsamic Vinaigrette:
- Either combine all ingredients in 1-quart jar and shake vigorously to mix, or blend in a blender to form an emulsion.