RECIPE. Jul 15, 2011

A Kale Salad Obsession

Last year, the first year I joined our community garden, I was handed a large bunch of green leaves that looked like lettuce on steroids. I happen to have a large ego and hate to admit when I am completely in the dark about something food related. I quickly stuck it in my box with all the other familiar vegetables and vowed to google it. When I arrived home, however, I felt even more confident that I could just treat these greens like lettuce and quickly whipped up a salad. To my horror they were bitter, rough, thick and completely inedible. I took my bloated ego down a few notches and used google and my favorite recipe blogs to find out what to do with this mystery vegetable. I took to sauteing them in stir fry’s or baking them as they became deliciously sweet and wonderful when softened.

A year passes and I puff out my chest as I walk through the garden this year, confident I know the majority of items we are trying to grow. While happily sharing recipes one day with a fellow gardener, I was shocked to hear she used Kale in salads. She was kind enough to share her secrets despite my upturned “gross” face. Not wanting to miss out on some exciting culinary adventure, I gave her suggests a whirl and I haven’t stopped consuming this salad for lunch for the past two weeks. In fact, I typically shudder at the idea of sharing a lame salad recipe.

Guess I just couldn’t help myself. When I know I have something so delicious I don’t want to keep it to myself. I want to share the joy and excitement and maybe open a few worlds just as mine has been opened by others. The nutritional benefit of this dish is outstanding. Kale is one of the most incredible leafy greens that you can consume for your health. It is an anti-inflammitory, has antioxidant properties and is chock full of Vitamin K, C and Calcium. I am only skimming the surface of it’s long list of health benefits.

There is a trick to this salad other than mixing all the ingredients together. You have to let everything sit for 15 minutes. That time allows the salt, olive oil and vinegar to break down some of the bitter and rough nature of the kale to make it oh so amazing. It is also important that you discard the tough inner stem of the kale and only eat the leafy part. The stem is what makes it taste most bitter.

Place all ingredients in large bowl and mix thoroughly. Let sit for 15 minutes and then consume. This makes enough for one hungry person or two as a side dish to a main course. I love this as my lunch with a side of squash cornbread muffins. That recipe I will share next week.