Warm Kale Salad

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Combine and whisk together in a large bowl :

2 tsp toasted sesame oil

2 tsp prepared mustard, preferably of high quality

1/8-1/4 tsp tamari

1/4 tsp vinegar (sherry, rice wine or black vinegar are best)

Dash of Maggi or Golden Mountain Seasoning (optional)

pinch or so of salt

1/8 tsp sichuan peppercorns (or black peppercorns), freshly ground or crushed

Take :

10-12 oz kale leaves, de-stemmed but not chopped

Place in a large pot of boiling, salted water for 2-3 minutes, pushing the kale down and covering the pot with a lid.

Drain kale immediately. Then quickly wrap kale in a thick kitchen towel and squeeze as much liquid from the kale as desired. I usually don’t fuss over this too much, just making sure that the larger portion of the water absorbed by the kale has been squeezed out.

Place the kale on a chopping board and roughly or finely chop it depending on your tastes. Toss immediately with the dressing, turn out into a bowl and serve with fork or chopsticks. Garnish with sesame seeds or–even better, a Japanese seaweed-sesame seasoning combo like Nori Komi Furikake.

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This is one of the simplest ways to serve kale, accompanied only by seasonings selected to bring out its’ naturally complex and hearty flavors. This feeds two people as a starter and one person as a hearty lunch, accompanied perhaps by a piece of fruit or hunk of bread.

Kale salad is as ubiquitous as bad driving in the Northeast, too often it is either matched with incongruous ingredients (radish? blueberry?) or just not properly cooked. I find kale best lightly boiled like this (or even steamed if you can muster the energy) ideal for a salad, served either warm or cool. Now, if I was to serve this particular salad cool I would add perhaps a bit more of the liquid ingredients, but warm these proportions are just perfect.

Key – The key to this recipe is to proceed as quickly as possible once draining the kale, as maximum heat in the greens will cause the flavors of the dressing to blend better and come out more.

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