Sexy Summer Salad

I am not one for following food trends, but there are some that I just can’t avoid. Enter kale, the food world’s newest sensation. Kale, a member of the cabbage family that has been cultivated for almost 2,000 years, has made a serious comeback. For a long time, kale was simply a pretty green garnish. But now that it is being used for salads on virtually any hip restaurant menu in the US, diners and chefs are finding out just how nutritious this leafy vegetable actually is. Kale is very rich in Vitamins A, C, K and is also a great source of fiber and calcium.

Unfortunately, when not handled correctly, it can taste tough, bitter or can even be poisonous, which I learned the hard way the first time I made this salad. I couldn’t figure out why my kale salad was not nearly as enjoyable as those of the restaurants I frequent, so I began asking around and doing some good old fashioned Googling to get my answer. And to my surprise, the trick is in massaging your kale. Yes folks, you heard it here. It’s time to get touchy feely with your greens.

This may sound insane, but TRUST ME, it makes all the difference! The first time I made a kale salad, I literally took one grizzly bite and had to throw it in the trash. It was like eating paper leaves. No matter how much salt, pepper or dressing I added, it just didn’t help. On my second attempt, after washing the kale like 5 times and then massaging it before adding dressing (and once again with dressing, for good measure), I achieved the sexiest salad I have made this summer.

But I cannot take all the credit… this salad was inspired by my two of my favorite lunchtime splurges, Searsucker‘s Blackened Salmon Salad and True Food Kitchen’s Kale Salad w/ Grilled Salmon. I picked up some of the Salmon with Citrus Herb Butter from Trader Joe’s, and then picked up a nice big head of kale. The mix of lemony citrus, salty salmon, sweet acidic cherry tomatoes and crunchy slivered almonds was the perfect combo to top this salad off. I used a homemade tahini/lemon dressing, however any dressing (in teeny tiny quantities) is a nice addition to this sexy summer salad.

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