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"You votin' for Kal-ee?" he said, mistaking "kale" for someone's name.
"Um, that says kale," I replied. "Like the vegetable. But it's awesome. I'd vote for it."
"Aw yea. That's like couscous, right?" he replied.
Um ... yea. Just like couscous, dude. Anyway, all that is to say that even though kale has taken the world by storm, some folks still don't know what it is. And they'd probably never dream that you can eat it raw and have it taste delicious. It's all about the massage — how long you caress your greens and what you caress them with.
Marukan, makers of my favorite rice vinegars, sent me some samples recently of their Seasoned Gourmet Rice Vinegar, Genuine Rice Vinegar, and Yuzu Ponzu. And I used a couple bottles to massage the perfect kale salad. But more on that (picture and recipe) in a few.
Let's talk vinegar first. My favorite is the seasoned vinegar. It's sweet and salty, perfect for sushi rice. And unlike some other seasoned rice vinegars, it contains no nasty high-fructose corn syrup. The genuine, unseasoned vinegar is great too. It's pure rice vinegar, no sweet stuff, making it great for dressings and other savory applications. Cassi recently borrowed some to use in her famous Vegan Dumplings.
As for the ponzu, well, this stuff is AWESOME! I love this citrus-flavored soy sauce, but most traditional ponzu isn't vegan since it's made with katsuobushi (tuna) flakes. Yuck! But Marukan's Yuzu Ponzu is totally vegan!
Okay, now for the Simple Massaged Kale Salad. You can use any old rice vinegar and ponzu (or even soy sauce) for this recipe, but I recommend Marukan because they're the best!
Simple Massaged Kale Salad
Makes about 10 cups (5 servings)
2 bunches curly kale, washed, stems removed, leaves torn into bite-sized bits
1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup Marukan Seasoned Gourmet Rice Vinegar
2 Tbsp. Marukan Yuzu Ponzu
1/2 cup diced tomato
Salt and pepper, to taste
Put the kale leaves and onion in a big bowl. Add the olive oil. Using your bare hands, gently massage the oil into the kale leaves for about 3-5 minutes. The kale should reduce by about half and the onions should get very soft, almost like cooked onions.
Add the rice vinegar and ponzu and continue massaging until well-combined. Stir in the tomato, season to taste, and serve.