For the perfect texture, an oil rub-down is in order. [Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

One of the interesting things of working at a website, from a data perspective, is that we can easily look under the hood and see what topics are the most popular. For example, I can tell you with certainty that, as much as I wish everyone were interested in cooking whole fish at home, the numbers clearly show me that it's not true (sad trombone says, wah-wah). What the numbers also consistently show: Everyone loves chicken. Interestingly, in the past couple years, another ingredient has been creeping up the charts, and if you guess pork, beef, lamb, duck, goat, shrimp, salmon, scallops, or any other kind of animal protein, you'd be wrong.

The ingredient is kale. If you follow food trends, kale peaked last year and is so not cool now, but if you like your food because you like it and not because it's a fashion statement, then kale is as good as ever. And if you like kale, then this kale caesar salad is the best, as it was when Kenji unveiled it last year.

The thing that makes kale so great is a little oil massage to get it ready for the grand salad tossing. As Kenji explains, the oil helps dissolve the natural waxy cuticle on the kale leaves, which tenderizes them even more than just tossing the kale with the dressing and letting it sit.

Another great thing about it is that the kale won't really wilt, even after many, many hours, so this is a great dish for potlucks and parties: make it in advance and it'll be just as delicious when it's time to serve.


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