By Gretel H. Schueller, July 1, 2013 - 10:31am
Who knew the solution to overcooking dark leafy greens to make them palatable was actually not cooking them at all? It turns out there’s an amazing tool for transforming bitter dark leafy greens into a tender, melts-in-your-mouth salad packed with punchy citrus, garlic and Parmesan. And it’s only an arm’s length away: your hands! A few minutes of judicious massaging (think Rolfing, not Reiki) will completely transform kale, mustard greens or broccoli rabe into something velvety and soft. The secret is in the squeezing: when you squeeze the greens you actually start to break down the cell walls, releasing enzymes that split apart the bitter-tasting compounds. That’s great news for anyone who’s wanted to enjoy these greens’ amazing benefits (they’re packed with dietary fiber and bone-healthy vitamin K) but couldn’t learn to love the taste. Turns out that if you want your greens to mellow out, all you have to do is give them a massage.
1. Start with 2 bunches of kale, mustard greens or broccoli rabe. Strip kale or mustard leaves from stems (discard stems). For broccoli rabe, separate the florets from the leaves; cut large florets into bite-size pieces. Wash and dry the leaves (and florets). Tear the leaves into small pieces and place everything in a large bowl.
2. Add 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, 1/4 cup lemon juice, 3 minced garlic cloves, 1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce, 1 minced anchovy fillet (optional), 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper and 1/4 teaspoon salt to the greens.
3. With clean hands, firmly massage and crush the greens until the volume is reduced by about half (1 to 2 minutes). They should look a little darker and somewhat shiny and have a silky, soft texture.
For more tips and recipes, visit our Eat More Vegetables Challenge page.