Raw kale salads are everywhere now and I'm jumping onto the bandwagon. In experimenting with this recipe, I tried a few different approaches to preparing the kale. First I tried just adding the dressing to the kale. This wasn't bad, but the dressing didn't incorporate very well into the salad and didn't do much to soften the kale.
One recipe I found calls for pouring boiling over the kale to soften it. I liked this approach because it was straightforward. The salad tasted good and the kale was a bit softer, but, again, the dressing mostly ended up in the bottom of the bowl.
The last approach I tried was massaging the dressing into the kale. I resisted this approach because, well, kale just didn't seem like something I wanted to massage. I barely have time to massage the people that I love and only rarely -- and usually as the result of a gift -- have I had a massage myself. So, kale? Who has time for that?
But when my other approaches didn't work, I resigned to give it a try. The good news/bad news is that it worked very well. The dressing incorporated well into the kale and along the way, it softened the kale just a touch. The kale was still good and chewy, but the massaging took the edge off. The even better news is that it really didn't take that long. Just a few minutes of working the kale with my fingers was enough to get the job done.
This salad has been perfect for this time of year, when I'm craving the taste of spring, but the spring vegetables aren't yet available at the farmers' market. There is still a lot of kale available, but, instead of cooking it into a heavier dish, eating it raw freshens it up. The citrus and sweetness of the clementines is a bright foil for the kale, too, giving the salad a lighter touch that has seemed just right to us as the days get longer and warmer.
And when I say "us," no, I do not mean the kiddies. Although Olivia and Chloe do like kale, they haven't been wild about this salad. But Gabe and I have been happily munching through it, feeling it do its work as the antidote to the excesses of many birthday celebrations and vacation eating.
2009: Kale Chips
2010: Greens and Basil Risotto
2011: Green Lasagne
2012: Green Apple Fizz
15-20 minutes preparation time
Unlike lettuce salads, this salad can be made in advance. The salad keeps well after the dressing has been added, even for a day or two.
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 teaspoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 bunch kale (about 8 cups after it is sliced)
2 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced
4 clementines, peeled and broken into sections
In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice and soy sauce. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil, whisking continuously.
Remove the spines from the kale. Lay the pieces flat on a cutting board and slice the kale across into very, very thin strips. Toss the kale strips in a salad bowl with the dressing, rubbing the leaves between your fingertips until all of the dressing is incorporated.
Add the scallions and clementine sections, and toss gently. Serve immediately or refrigerate for a day or so.