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This week's recipes from the L.A. Times Test Kitchen

March 11, 2012 | 10:00 am

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In his latest California Cook column, Food editor Russ Parsons shares a little secret for making raw kale delicious in salads:

Kale is about as unlikely a food star as you can imagine. It's tough and fibrous. Bite a piece of raw kale and you'll practically end up with splinters between your teeth. Nevertheless, kale has become a green of the moment because, given a little special care, it actually can be made not only edible but delicious.

You can cook it, of course, the lower and slower the better. But surprisingly, one of the most popular ways to use kale these days is in salads. Though kale leaves have always been found on almost every salad bar, it wasn't for reasons of edibility — it was for decoration, because this was one green so tough it would last forever without wilting.

But the solution is remarkably simple: Give it a massage. Yes, seriously. And I mean a real massage — a deep-tissue bone-breaker. Grab bunches of it in both hands and squeeze. Then rub them together. And repeat. It's almost like kneading bread dough.

It only takes a couple of minutes of massage, but the transformation is remarkable as the kale goes from tough to velvety soft. And as he found out, it works with all kinds of kale for a variety of salads!

This week's recipes include:

When you try one of this week's recipes or any L.A. Times recipe, let us know! Upload a photo onto the "Our recipes, your kitchen" gallery to share your take on the recipe and tell us about yourself. Your photo will be posted online and may be selected to run in print with our weekly section.

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-- Noelle Carter
Twitter/noellecarter

Photo: Kale salad with roasted winter squash. Credit: Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times

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