Kale is important to me.
I found it all by myself as a college student and it has stuck with me ever since. There’s something about kale that represents my food ethics better than any other food. It is diverse, hardy and adaptable. Many an evening kale has been my starting point for dinner preparation, with other ingredients added as I go. Rarely have I been disappointed by a meal containing kale. As I move in to this new year of 2013 I vow to maintain my devotion to kale, unswayed by the protests of my young children who have not yet learned to appreciate its glory.
Cooking kale is an adventure.
In my early years with kale I believed that I needed to cook it as much as possible. In more recent years I’ve learned to appreciate it raw. Lately I’ve grown to love massaged kale, which I believe achieves a perfect balance. Massaging the kale softens it and allows it to more fully absorb the flavors of its dressing. Below is a recipe from a recent experiment of mine. I have to admit I prefer a couple other massaged kale salads that have included either mango or orange pieces. This one was fun though, and it reminds me of the limitless possibilities my buddy kale brings to my table.
RECIPE: MIDDLE EASTERN MASSAGED KALE SALAD
- one large head of kale, cleaned and cut in to half inch ribbons
- small onion, chopped finely
- 2 cloves garlic, also finely chopped
- 1 Tbs tahini
- 2 Tbs lemon juice
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/2 tsp anchovy paste (optional, but oh so good)
- one can chickpeas
- salt and pepper
In a food processer or blender, puree all the non-kale ingredients, except for half of the chickpeas. Add the rest of the chickpeas at the end of the pureeing so some chunks remain. Add this mixture (yes, it is basically humos) to the kale in a large bowl and massage. Stick your bare hands in to the bowl and rub the heck out of the kale. Eventually it will start to break down. You’ll know you’re done when the kale takes up about half of its original volume in the bowl. Serve at room temp.
A word about the anchovy paste: you can use fish sauce instead, but either way this added ingredient will not make your kale (or broccoli or cabbage for that matter) taste fishy. It will just make it taste way better.
Bottom line people: In 2013 we should all Eat More Kale.