Nerd tries to impress girl. Nerd gets rejected. Girl goes for more popular alternative. Nerd gets a makeover (and some money) and wins girl over. Nerd becomes too cool for school. Girl dumps Nerd in a very sad, dismissive fashion. Nerd redeems himself by being himself. Girl falls madly in love with Nerd.
Add in an African Anteater Ritual Dance, and it’s basically the plot of the classic rom-com Can’t Buy Me Love.
AND it pretty much sums up my relationship with kale.
You have to agree that this very nutritious leaf jumped the shark about a year ago when this happened.
However, I really want you to fall back in love like I did.
Currently, my life is the end of the movie where I am madly, inexplicably in love with kale, but only in it’s original form, as a salad. It’s the only salad relationship I have been in for the past six months. There is something magical about these simple ingredients that has me like some juice drinkin’ hipster, buying my weight in kale at Whole Foods on the reg.
It’s that good.
But you should know, there are rules.
First, you have to like garlic.
I mean, really like garlic. But even if you just kind of like garlic, you should still try this and not be afraid. Trust me.
Also, you have to take the time to tear the kale fresh from the stems. None of this baby kale, pre-shredded stuff. I want real-deal, hearty leaves, hand-torn, soaked and spun dry.
Next, you have to use your hands to put the dressing on. It’s the only way to properly dress kale. Get in there. Don’t be shy, kale likes to be man-handled.
And lastly, here is a little piece of relationship advice from me to you: keep a pocket mirror with you at all times. Otherwise you will not see the green specks between your teeth until 5 pm.
Because you will have had this salad for lunch, and it will be so good you won’t even realize or care how fast you are capable at shoving it in your face.
Green teeth city. Your co-workers won’t tell you either.
The One & Only
2-3 big bunches of Organic Curly Green Kale, (approx. 5-6 cups)
6 cloves of garlic (the big ones!), minced
juice of two lemons, about 1/2 cup freshly squeezed
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Tbsp real maple syrup
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 tsp Kosher Salt
pinch of crushed red pepper flake (optional)
As previously outlined, tear the leaves away from the large stems and into small pieces. Soak the leaves in a large bowl of cold water while you make the dressing.
Whisk together the lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, maple syrup, salt, crushed red pepper (if using), and minced garlic.
Drain the kale and spin it dry in a salad spinner. Pour the dressing over the bowl of kale, and massage it with your hands. You can dim the lights if the mood strikes you.
Next, toss in both cheeses. (Both are important. It’s a textural thing, trust me.)
Now try to resist eating the entire bowl. It’s insane. Almost as insane as borrowing a suede outfit from your mom without asking, but without the shame of getting caught.