I’ve had in-depth discussions with Greg Styer, regional development director of kale seed producer Bejo Seeds, about the merits of the vegetable. Styer points out that kale ranks at the top of the Aggregate Nutrient Density, and he tries to have a kale salad every day.
And a friend of mine recently told me of his attempts to sauté the dark leafy green, only to have it come out tasting like “paper.”
Paper isn’t necessarily the descriptor that comes to mind, but it still conveys the notion that kale is just too tough and bitter to enjoy eating.
Now I’ve come to find out that my friend and I may have been mistreating kale, and that’s why it has rebelled.
Rather than manhandling it, chopping it with a knife and throwing it in a hot skillet, we should massage it.
That’s even the term that chefs and food bloggers use to make kale more palatable.
I didn’t even know the practice existed until I was talking to Diana McClean, marketing director for Salinas-based Tanimura & Antle, for THE PACKER’s recent California spring vegetable section. I proceeded to Google “massage kale” and couldn’t believe all of the directions that popped up.
I can picture it now. The lights are dim, perhaps a few candles flicker to set the mood.
Bowls of potpourri or lit aroma candles provide hints of vanilla fragrance that waft through the room as relaxing music plays in the background.
The kale waits on the table with a towel draped over it. In walks Helga, the Swedish masseuse, to discuss whether the kale prefers Shiatsu or deep tissue massage.
No scented body oils used here. Instead, Helga drizzles a little olive oil and salt on the client and gets to work, kneading the leaves until they start to break down.
After about five minutes of massaging, the kale has relaxed to the point of being limp and ready for its starring role in a salad. Its disposition has even mellowed from bitter to sweetness.
Nope, this ain’t gonna happen in the Boyd household, where massages are limited to sore muscles. I think I’ll stick to less needy greens, such as spinach, that don’t need massages to be sweet and relaxed.
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