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.
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 white balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 cup seeded, minced cucumber
- 1 tbs finely chopped cilantro
- 1 tbs finely chopped mint
- 1/4 tsp lime zest
- 1 tbs lime juice
- 2/3 cup olive oil – the good stuff!
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- Hot sauce like Tabasco
- 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 with lime zest and juice. Let dressing rest for at least 5 minutes for cucumbers to soften and flavors to blend.
- Whisk in olive oil and sugar. Taste with a piece of kale. Season dressing to taste with salt, pepper, hot sauce and additional vinegar, oil or sugar as needed. Moe bitter kale may taste better with a little extra pinch of sugar and an extra drizzle of oil.
- Dress kale and let rest for 5 minutes to soften.