Saturday, January 12, 2013

Massaged kale with tahini-miso dressing

This afternoon at Wegman's I found a huge box of organic baby kale.  I knew it was coming home with me, and of course I immediately thought of massaged kale salad.

Massaged kale salad has been a thing for a couple years now.  Basically you tenderize the kale by physically massaging it with your hands, plus an acid, a fat, or some salt.  It's fun and messy.  I made a massaged kale salad a while back with beautiful fresh pineapple and tomatoes.  The acid from the pineapple and tomatoes tenderized the kale, and the fruit basically formed the dressing.

This time I knew I wanted to use a tahini-based dressing.  I had seen a yummy-sounding kale salad on Choosing Raw, with a dressing made from soaked cashews.  I can't have cashews in the house because they (and most nuts) are like crack to me, but for some reason I am OK with tahini.  I started to type "massaged kale" into Google, and it suggested "massaged kale tahini dressing" as a search option, so clearly I am not the first person, or the five hundredth,  to think of this combination.  

I used the first dressing recipe that came up, minus the cilantro.  I liked the idea of combining tahini with white miso (mmm, umami), and I had all the ingredients in the house.  I put everything in my mini food processor and whipped it up in less than a minute.  Here's what I did next:

First, I had to give some kale to the cat, so he would leave me alone and let me cook.  He loves greens.

This is what the kale looks like right out of the package.  The leaves are about the same size as baby spinach.
I put about a third to a half of the pound of kale in a big stainless steel bowl, and sprinkled it with a few pinches of coarse kosher salt.  Then I started squeezing and massaging it with my hands.  The salt adds friction and helps draw out the liquid in the kale.  After I'd worked on it for a few minutes, it looked like this:

 See how it's kind of glossy and wet looking?  It also takes up less room in the bowl than it did before.

Next, I mixed in a little dressing and massaged the kale some more:

Then I let the salad rest while I prepared the rest of dinner, which was basically the same leftover dry chickpea curry and brown basmati rice we've been eating all week.

Here's my dinner plate.  I drizzled some extra dressing on the kale.  Om nom nom.

If you like cooked kale but can't imagine eating it raw, I strongly encourage you to try a massaged kale salad.  The massaging really does transform the kale, as if it had been very, very lightly steamed or sauteed.  Plus it makes a mess, and it's fun!

If you've made massaged kale salads before, what is your favorite dressing?