By SARA MOULTON
When it comes to leafy green vegetables, kale has been king for a while. It boasts more vitamin C than an orange, more calcium than milk, and more iron per calorie than beef.
It also has been the darling of the restaurant world for years. There has even been kale backlash, as people said, "Enough kale!" But I can't get enough. Particularly now, when kale is in its prime (it loves cooler weather).
So I wanted to find a new way to prepare it. Garlicky kale sauteed in olive oil? Been there. Baked kale chips? Done that. In search of a simple recipe that would be manageable for the Thanksgiving table, I was inspired by a kale salad I ate recently at ABC Kitchen, one of my favorite restaurants in New York. Chef Dan Kluger tosses his version with lemon, serrano chilies and mint.
I decided to give mine the Asian treatment, dressing it with soy, sesame oil and rice vinegar.
Kale is available in curly, ornamental and dinosaur varieties. It was the Italians who gave that last type its name, due to the bumpy surface of its leaves. Generally, smaller leaves are milder. Look for firm, deeply colored leaves with firm stems. You can store kale in an airtight plastic bag in the fridge for up to five days.
There is one problem with raw kale — it's tough. Tenderize it by cutting it into thin shreds or, oddly enough, you can massage it. I was always taught to be gentle with greens because they bruise easily, but kale is the punching bag of the greens world. Beat it into submission if you're going to eat it raw. You also need to remove the thick stems.
You can make the dressing for this salad ahead, then toss and massage the greens at the last moment. You also can dress the kale a few hours ahead of time and keep it chilled with little damage to flavor and texture.