Raw kale is a current darling of the food scene, and kale salads have appeared on hip restaurant menus across the country. Why? Well, it’s good for you. It’s also fairly inexpensive and counter-intuitive. Hey, who doesn’t love a counter-intuitive vegetable?
Here’s the problem. It’s still kale. No matter how freshly-picked those leaves are, they are still tough and still a little bitter. One solution the food hipsters have identified is to massage your kale. Now, while I love my veggies, that’s a lot of affection just to get a salad on the table.
Here’s my solution: make a fresh, bright vinaigrette with just a pinch of sugar to offset the bitterness. Chop the kale thin – chiffonade – and let it rest for 5 minutes after you dress it to wilt the greens slightly. That’s a salad you can love.
*As some of my demo audience noted last Saturday, this vinaigrette was closely inspired by a recent tropical cucumber salad. The good news? That bottle of tropical spice vinegar can do double duty!
Kale With Tropical Cucumber Vinaigrette
This vinaigrette would also be great over a piece of grilled fish like tilapia or over mesclun greens.
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/3 cup Tropical Spice Vinegar*
- 1/2 cup seeded, minced cucumber
- 1 tbs cilantro, finely chopped
- 1 tbs mint, finely chopped
- 2/3 cup Lime Oil*
- 1/2 pound kale, ribbed and thinly sliced
- Mash garlic into a paste with 1/2 tsp coarse sea salt using the back of your knife or a mortar and pestle.
- Whisk together garlic paste, vinegar, cucumber and herbs. Let dressing rest for at least 5 minutes for cucumbers to soften and flavors to blend.
- Whisk in olive oil. Season to taste with sugar, salt and pepper. Correct vinegar and oil balance with kale.
- Dress kale and let rest for 5 minutes to soften.