A few weeks ago while I was in Northern California, I was craving kale. My friend Leslie showed me how to use it raw in salads, by washing and chopping it, sprinkling it with fresh lemon juice and a pinch of salt, and then squeezing it over and over again with your hands like you’re giving it a massage. We used it in a thai-style chicken and rice noodle salad with lime, cilantro, fish sauce, and chili—with excellent results.
Why the massage, you ask? By giving the greens a workout you break down the tough leaves a little, tenderizing them and making them easier to eat raw.
Ideas like this always seem to come in waves. You think your West Coast friend was on to something new, and then an East Coast friend does the exact same thing two weeks later. This time, the kale was ‘given the treatment’ and then combined with more lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper, pumpkin seeds, and cubes of fresh mango.
For a third take on raw kale salad, try this one by Marcus Samuelsson. He doesn’t get touchy-feely with his greens, but the combination with gruyere and hazelnuts is irresistible.