I've made 20 different kale salads over the past month. A few thoughts:
—I 've used many different kinds of kale. Dinosaur, curly, Siberian, and premier. All with great success.
— You don't have to destem the kale. But according to Dash, it's more enjoyable if you do because then you don't have to pick the stems out of your teeth. Up to you. But don't bother when the leaves are small and delicate.
—If you choose to massage your kale, it will wilt down to about 1/3 of the original amount. So buy a lot of kale!
— These greens will suck up anything you put on them. The dressing must be flavorful or your salad will be boring. High acid. Hella garlic. Generous amount of salt. After massaging with olive oil, you can toss the greens with fresh garlic, olive oil, salt, and lemon juice. Or you can get a bit more complicated and make a warm anchovy garlic vinaigrette (see recipe below).
— Kale goes beautifully with squash, potatoes, citrus, nuts, cheese, bacon, lamb, chicken. So you can make a side salad or pile on the toppings and turn the situation into a full meal.
— You can mix the already massaged kale in with other greens such as cabbage, fennel, romaine.
— Once massaged, it hold up really well in the fridge for a few days.
Things to add to the massaged kale:
— Toasted almond slices, navel orange, blue cheese.
— Pine nuts, parmesan, pomegranate molasses, chopped parsley (see first photo below).
— Roasted butternut squash, roasted garlic, thick balsamic vinegar (see second photo below).
— Avocado, tangerine, walnuts.
— Manchego, apple, pecans.
— Balsamic-grilled peaches, goat cheese.
— Flank steak, grilled onions.
— Chicken, caramelized shallots, preserved lemons.
Massaged Kale Salad with Anchovy Garlic Vinaigrette:
This is a template. See above for some possible additions. Almost anything works with kale. Remember, it also tastes great very simply dressed.
6 anchovy fillets, packed in oil
3 cloves garlic, grated or very finely chopped
2 tablespoons sherry wine vinegar
1 shallot, chopped (about 1 tablespoon)
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
4-8 tablespoons olive oil (for dressing)
2 big bunches kale (any kind)
3-5 tablespoons olive oil (for massaging kale)
Heat a pan on medium heat (I use cast iron for this recipe). Add anchovies. Use a spatula or wooden spoon to help them disintegrate. Once they're a paste, turn heat to low heat and add grated garlic. Cook for about 30 seconds until the garlic smells sweet and fragrant. Whisk in vinegar. Add shallots and cook for about 30 seconds. Take off the heat. Whisk in mustard. Slowly whisk in half of the olive oil. Taste. Add more olive oil if it's too tangy.
Once massaged, you can refrigerate the kale for a few days and the texture will remain the same. But don't add the vinaigrette until the day you're going to eat the kale.