Oh man, kale. Kale is the ‘it’ thing, a sort of highly nutritious green shoe leather. I’ve made some oven fried kale chips, which are fantastic, but kind of a lot of work and of dubious healthfulness. I pretty much resigned myself to being left out of Kale Club until I finally figured out how to make a raw kale dish that tasted great and didn’t require a chewing commitment reminiscent of cud.
Dan liked this so much he asked me to write down the recipe. If your pantry habits are the exact same as mine, this takes about 5 minutes to assemble. If not, probably a few extra, but still worth it.
Raw kale needs rough handling to make it edible. Remove ribs, wash. Tame by julienning it very thinly – roll or wad leaves into a tight bundle and cut into quarter inch strips – and put into a bowl. Bruise it thoroughly by massaging in olive oil, sesame seed oil, and a pinch of salt until it turns dark and wilts to about half volume. I use hot sesame oil. If you don’t have this, use regular, but add some cayenne to the dressing.
In another dish, mix some tahini, lemon juice, and a dab of honey together. Add a little bit of water so you can stir it, but not too much. Depending on your social plans, add some garlic powder. This will end up being very thick, but don’t worry, the kale will conquer it.
Add some of the dressing to the bowl of kale, and massage together. As with many things, it’s much easier to add more dressing if you have too little than take it out if you have too much, so do this in stages. When the kale is dressed to your liking (taste it), top with some sesame seeds (optional).
Put into bowls. I topped mine with matchsticks of cold, cooked bacon, chopped hard boiled egg, and fresh cracked pepper. You don’t have to do the egg, but Dan and I both felt the smoky/salty bacon worked well with the bitter/sour/sweet dressing.
Other things that would probably taste good:
– Curls of parmesan.
– Pan toasted high-quality breadcrumbs.
– Green onion or some other oniony thing.
– Tuna salad, maybe.
Tahini – You know what’s bad for you? Oxidative rancidity. But luckily, sesame is resistant to this particular evil, so tahini keeps almost indefinitely. When I buy a can, I blend it smooth with an immersion blender right in the can, and portion it according to my favorite hummus recipe into portion cups and keep in the fridge. This cuts hummus-making time down to mere minutes. This is also useful for doctoring store-bought hummus. And now, hopping on the kale trend.
Lemon juice – lemons are easier to juice if you microwave them for 10-15 seconds before proceeding.
Sesame seeds – my mom toasts these for me. If you don’t have my mom, you can get them pre-toasted, or toast a big batch yourself in a dry pan and keep on the shelf. Use whole, or lightly crush with a mortar and pestle for full flavor.
Bacon – I bake a pound of bacon at a time in a 400 degree oven, turning every 5-10 minutes until done. Most people suggest baking directly on foil, but I put the bacon on a rack on a half sheet pan to drain away the fat as it cooks. Don’t go all the way to ultra-crispy. Allow to cool, and then keep in a bag in the fridge. Food safety experts will probably tell you this will keep for 20 minutes, but I’ve found it will keep for a week, easy (that is, if you don’t eat it all). You can have bacon on demand now! Microwave for 15 seconds for hot bacon. Pan fry to crisp up for breakfast – just needs a minute or two per side. Chop cold for salads, devilled eggs, and everything that is better with a little bacon in it (which is everything).
Hard boiled eggs – I like to do a handful of eggs on Sundays (while the bacon is in the oven) because this makes for very easy protein mid-week. Older eggs are better for hard boiling (although your yolk won’t be centered, they will be easier to peel), so it’s a great way to finish off a dozen. To avoid the green sulphur guck, bring cold water and eggs to a boil. When big bubbles break the surface, let boil for a minute, and then pull the pan off the heat. Let the eggs sit in the hot water for 10-12 minutes. Chill.