Perfecting the kale salad

The good old super food strikes again. I've had my fair share of kale in the past year, I've done the kale chips, sauteed kale, grilled kale, kale in soup, and the smoothie with kale (I was not impressed. I think I put in way too much, the whole thing tasted like dirt). But the one thing I kept hesitating to do was the kale salad. 

It was my theory that kale, being a similar texture to collard greens, really needed to be cooked down to be enjoyed. It just seemed way too tough and bitter to eat in the raw form. Well after some web surfing I quickly learned the "secret." 
Kale must be crushed! You hear me?!? After you rinse it and tear it into bite sized pieces. Sprinkle a little olive oil and kosher salt and then get your hands in there and start shmushing! Shmushing is the technical culinary food term for grabbing and squeezing in your little hands. This is also a wonderful way to take out some aggression after a long day. As you shmush you will notice the kale become darker in color and more fragrant. For some reason shmushing magically takes the bitterness out, and enhances all of the wonderful flavors of the leaves. 

Then, because kale is truly magical, you can actually dress the salad ahead of time and let the leaves soak up all of the dressing flavor. I've been doing a dressing of lemon juice, cider vinegar, honey, dijon mustard, and a little bit of olive oil (remember you already have olive oil on the greens for the shmushing.) Unlike other salads, this one won't get soggy when the dressing is left on. I've eaten the pre-dressed salad a full day later and it still has the same non-soggy texture!

Lately, I've been topping off my kale with fruit, nuts and cheese. These lighter and sweeter elements really pair well with the kale's earthiness. The picture above is kale salad with apples, strawberries, dried figs (amazingly available at Walgreen's) and goat cheese. Sometimes I'll throw in some avocado too for a little extra richness. 

Well happy Friday, happy long weekend (hopefully), and happy Memorial Day! I hope your weekend is full of sunshine, grilling and good friends. 

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