Massaging kale will soften the leaves and make them easier to eat. It will also help release the sugars within the leaves to balance out their bitter flavor. Remove the stalky ribs and place the leaves in a large bowl. Add a bit of olive oil on top, plus a pinch of salt. With clean hands, rub the kale leaves together between your fingers until they just start to wilt, about 3 minutes for most kale. We used lacinato kale — also known as dinosaur or Tuscan kale — for this recipe. It is more tender and delicate, and does not need to be massaged for as long as heartier varieties.
1 bunch lacinato (dinosaur) kale
Italian olive oil, for massaging
1 navel orange
1 pink grapefruit
2 mandarin oranges
½ avocado, sliced
Salt, to taste
¼ red onion, thinly sliced in rings
½ cup chopped pecans
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
1/2 teaspoon honey, or more for a sweeter dressing
Lime or lemon juice, to taste
¼ teaspoon freshly chopped tarragon or a pinch of dried tarragon
Rinse, dry and massage kale with Italian olive oil.
Peel citrus fruits, removing as much pith as possible, and slice them into wheels. Remove any pits.
Plate the massaged kale on a serving dish and layer sliced fruit, including the avocado, on top of it. Sprinkle with salt, and garnish with sliced onion rings and chopped pecans.
Whisk together extra virgin olive oil, vinegar, honey, lime juice and tarragon until well combined; taste and adjust seasoning as needed, then drizzle over salad just before serving.
Chef’s Tip: Red onions are sharper and more pungent than white and yellow onions. If you like the deep purple outer color, but find the flavor too astringent for eating raw, soak red onions in ice water as you prep your other ingredients to eliminate some of the bite. This will also make them extra crisp.