So who's this lucky Kale that gets all the massages, huh? It's actually kale (little "k")-- you know, your favorite dark leafy green? That one! And yes, massage here means the same as it does when you go for your treatment at the spa.
You may be asking: why would I massage my kale? I am here to give you some reasons and explain how it's done (it's quite easy and pretty self-explanatory, but there are pictures here for those of us who are visual learners).
So, why massage kale? First of all, it softens the tough leaves a bit by breaking down the hard cellulose structure, which in turn makes it easier to chew and easier to digest, as it essentially starts the digestion (breakdown) process of the plant before it even goes in your mouth. This is great for people who have sensitive stomachs or who don't tolerate large amounts of fiber well.
Taste-wise, massaging the kale takes away some of the leaves' bitterness, which makes it more palatable.
You'll also notice that green kale starts to take on a deeper, darker color when it's massaged, which is a nice side benefit to these other perks -- deeper, richer colors mean more beautiful dishes!
Now, how is it done? There's not really a wrong way to do it, but I recommend these general steps.
1. Wash and lightly pat the kale dry.
2. Tear the kale off the stalk and into small pieces, and place in a large bowl.
3. Add in a few pinches of sea salt, and a small drizzle of olive oil -- NOTE: I mean really small. If you add too much oil, you'll end up with a big soggy mess. A tiny bit of oil goes a long way here. In fact, you can even massage kale without any oil, and I do it often! It just helps get things moving a bit better when there's a tiny bit of oil helping it along.
4. Using your hands, massage the kale -- hands in the bowl, rub-down style. Don't be afraid to get in there! Massaging green kale will take about 5 minutes, while dino/lacinto kale (whose leaves are a bit softer to start with), will take about a minute or two.
5. Toss with your favorite dressing and toppings for a massaged kale salad!