I know, it seems like I use an awful lot of Kale, but I don't usually end up using a whole bunch for just one thing, so of course I need to use up the rest. I'm not a fan of it in it's whole-raw form, but I have seen a lot of people writing about massaging the kale to soften and sweeten it, so it seemed worth a try. I have to admit, I ate this entire bowl of salad over the course of the day. Because the kale has a thicker texture than lettuce, it has a nice "meaty" weight to it. If you have some leftover chicken in the fridge, slice it up and add it to make a meal.
I'm already anticipating other versions I might want to make. I went with the mandarin oranges and almonds this time, thinking of one of my favorite spinach salads. As much as I love spinach, I really do prefer the kale for the salad.
1 bunch kale
1 T olive oil
1/2 t salt
1/3 c sliced almonds
1/2 small sweet onion
11 oz can mandarin oranges
1 t white balsamic vinegar
1/4 t Dijon mustard
1/2 t thyme leaves
In a small bowl, whisk together 1 teaspoon of the mandarin orange juice (drain the rest) with the white balsamic, Dijon, and thyme leaves, and set aside. This will give the thyme a chance to infuse into the dressing. You are already massaging the kale with olive oil, so there is no need to use additional oil for the dressing. You want to just flavor the salad, not soak it. The Dijon adds a hint of flavor and holds things together. You can use fresh or dried thyme. If using dried, rub it between your fingertips as you add it, to get the oils going.
Looks like a VERY small amount, but it coats nicely
without watering your salad down
Wash and dry your kale well, removing any large stalks/stems and tearing into bite-sized pieces. Pour the olive oil over the kale and sprinkle with salt. Now really get in there with your hands and massage the oil into the kale, coating all those nooks and crannies. Take a few minutes with this. Set aside.
Notice how much lower in the bowl the kale
sits after it has been massaged.
In a small pan over medium heat, lightly toast the almond slices, stirring frequently and removing from pan immediately so they don't continue to brown/burn.
Cut about half of your onion into super thin slices. When your almonds have cooled, toss the onions and most of your mandarin orange segments and almond slices with the kale. Drizzle the dressing over the top, add several grounds of fresh black pepper, and toss with tongs or salad utensils to coat well.
Plate and top with any remaining almonds and/or orange segments.