Kale can be tough. Here’s how salt can help, plus an easy salad recipe

Milk Street's recipe for bread salad with kale, beets and blue cheese.

Kale salads may be all the rage, but served raw, the sturdy green can be off-puttingly tough. So we looked at its cousin, cabbage, for clues on how to tame the texture without cooking it.

Kimchi and sauerkraut recipes use a salt massage to soften leaves, and we were pleased to find the same technique does wonders for the texture of kale. We’ve since applied the technique to several recipes for kale salads, but we particularly like it in this one from our book “Milk Street Tuesday Nights,” which limits recipes to 45 minutes or less.

It’s a take on panzanella, the Italian bread salad with tomatoes. We swap tomatoes for kale and pair it with sweet, earthy beets and bold blue cheese. It’s delicious on its own as a light main course, but it also is excellent as a side dish to roasted chicken or pork.

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