Angela asked me to make her my massaged kale salad today and that made me happy. She has wanted very little of me — my time, my company, my thoughts or my wisdom, especially my wisdom. Whatever I try to say to her is met with the retort “old man yells at cloud,” which is supposedly a Simpsons reference. “Millennials are so lazy! Go start a war or ruin the economy or something! Wait… how do you send an email?” In my defense, I know how to send an email.
I wait patiently because I know that she is at an age when she needs to explore and evolve into her own identity apart from her parents. But sometimes I can’t help feeling a little sad about the loss of the intimate oneness we used to have.
When I was away, she had been eating out a lot with her friends or ordering take-out from the nearby restaurants. For quite a few days after I came home, Angela continued to order her meals. The one thing that I used to be really good at — feeding her nutritious and delicious food — Angela no longer seemed to need from me.
When she came to me carrying a bunch of kale and said, “Mommy, can you make me your massaged kale salad for lunch?” I leapt into action. As I washed, cut out the stems, dried and massage the kale, Angela stood there and talked to me and laughed with me like she did when she was little.
Angela took a photo of the salad as she was eating it and texted it to her friends. “They all said that it looked so delicious,” she said, “Can you make it again for me to bring to school tomorrow?” Wow ! it was as if she was still my little girl.
I usually make this salad with feta cheese, but I was out of it today. I found that Parmesan is also delicious with this salad. The sweet grapes are a perfect balance to the tinge of bitterness in the kale.
Massaged Raw Kale Salad
2 bunches lacinato kale, ribs removed and discarded (12 oz total without ribs)
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp kosher salt or to taste
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice (from 1 large lemon)
Shaved Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup red seedless grapes
1/2 cup green seedless grapes
1/4 cup chopped dry roasted almonds
Slice the kale into 1/4-inch thin ribbons. In a large bowl combine the kale with oil and salt. Using your hands, massage the kale for 3 minutes until the kale softens.
Toss kale with the lemon juice, then add grapes. Sprinkle shaved parmesan cheese and chopped almonds before serving. The recipe makes 4 meal size servings.
Kale is such a hearty vegetable that the salad doesn’t get soggy if you let it sit in the fridge over night. I have always liked kale, but eating it raw like this is a great variation in preparing this super food.