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Aarti’s Massaged Kale Salad

August 26, 2010

So it’s no secret that I’m obsessed with all things Food Network. Watching the 6th season of The Next Food Network Star definitely fell into that obsession.  I really liked Aarti Sequeira from the beginning. I loved that she was a food blogger over at Aarti Paarti before going on the show. Her personal style was to infuse Indian cuisine into everyday American foods. She questioned her ability to compete with working/professionally trained chefs, yet she won lots of the competitions and challenges. I was not surprised that she was crowned The Next Food Network Star.

Her first showed aired over the weekend. I set the DVR and watched it on Monday. I really liked her style and the first show had some great recipes. Sloppy Bombay Joe’s – which I plan on making at some point, Massaged Kale Salad, which I did make,  and Creamy Pistachio Pops.

I loved the Kale Chips I made back in July…but those were cooked. Raw kale? Who knew? The concept was really interesting to me.

The Ingredients:

1 Bunch of Kale – She used black kale – I already had regular curly kale on hand  – she mentioned that was fine too. (Remove stalks and discard, ribbon slice the leaves).
1 Lemon – Juiced
1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil – Plus extra for drizzling
Kosher Salt to Taste
2 Teaspoons Honey – I added a little more
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
1 Mango – Diced small (about 1 cup)
Small handful toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds) – about 2 rounded tablespoons – I used about 4 tablespoons.

Directions:

Wash your kale and then pat dry with paper towels.

Using your hands – strip the kale off the stalk. This was very easy. I just held the stalk firmly and used my hand to slide through the curly leaves – they came right off the stalk very easily.

You are left with a pretty big pile of kale leaves. The idea is to roll them up as best as you can and then use a sharp knife to finely slice the kale into ribbons.

The curly kale made the process a little harder than what Aarti did with the black kale, but it worked in the end. I added the kale ribbons to a large bowl with 1/2 the lemon juice, a drizzle of oil and a little kosher salt.

You then dive right into the bowl with your hands. Massage the kale, lemon, oil and salt mixture until the kale starts to soften and wilt. I had a photo of me massaging the kale, but my hand looked like a giant ham hock and that was really disturbing. Massage the kale for a good 2-3 minutes. Aarti mentioned that it will start to smell like bananas – not so much, never got the banana aroma.

The volume of the kale definitely changed – before massaging, the kale was almost to the top of the bowl. It was amazing how much softer it got after the 3 minutes.

I got my mango chopped and then I started preparing the dressing.

I whisked together the remaining lemon juice, honey and freshly ground black pepper. I then slowly added the 1/4 cup of oil, while whisking until it formed the texture of a well mixed dressing. I tasted it, added some more honey and some more lemon juice – I thought it was a little too oily.

I added the pepitas to the salad and poured on the dressing, tossed, and then plated.

Outside photo with sunlight…

Inside photo with my iPhone…

What an amazing salad. It was perfect for a 106 degree day. I ate a small bowl, had some cheese toast with celery root and carrot salad and then had a hot date with my treadmill and the Rachel Zoe Project, followed by Top Chef and another small bowl of the salad – OMG, it tasted even better after marinating in the fridge for longer. The salad is addicting. Aarti mentioned on her show that because of the hearty structure of kale, it will hold up for several days in the fridge – dressing and all. What an awesome lunch option for me, love it!

I’m really looking forward to future Aarti Party shows. It’s about time I kicked things up Indian style. This blog was about branching out and trying new foods and styles of cooking. Never in a million years did I think I’d be looking forward to seconds, thirds and fourths of a raw kale salad.

Go me…

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5 comments

  1. Wow! This sounds really good. I’ve wanted to incoroparate more kale in my rotation of greens. Was it hard to dice the mango? I’ve never done that. Did you toast the pepitas yourself? I always buy them raw and enjoy them on my salad as is. Wondering if I could do this for this salad.


    • Dicing a mango was always frustrating until I watched it several times on different cooking shows. I assure you, mine never comes out as pretty. I got some pieces of the core seeds in my original slices – that’s why the pieces are such odd shapes. As for the pepitas – I cheated and bought dry roasted out of the bin. I absolutely think raw would work well in this salad.

      How to Cut a Mango


  2. Way to go Kath! I have never tried Kale. I keep saying I need to buck up and give it a try. I love coming to your blog each day and seeing all the wonderful foods you’ve been cooking!


    • Thanks Melissa. I love kale in soups, I even really liked the baked chips – had no idea that it could taste good raw. You should go for it! – I’ve been so surprised at what I have ended up really liking. This would be a good introduction because of the sweetness of the honey and mango, combined with the tart lemon juice and bold flavors of the kale.


  3. Aarti was my favorite this season too. I liked her style. OMG, is The Next Food Network Star a reality show and did I just admit to watching it. Gasp!



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