Last summer my family attended a local festival where the Iron Chef of Oregon regional cook off was underway. My daughter looked on the chefs on the stage like they were rock stars! As we were standing around watching the cleanup (my daughter thinks watching other people clean up from cooking is interesting, but doing it is not) one of the chefs offered us kale chips left behind from her plated masterpiece. They sounded weird and looked the part as well, but were light, crispy, and absolutely delicious.
I found the recipe today at whatscookingwithkids.com from their Earth Day post, and it is slightly more difficult than ripping open a bag of junky chips. Even that low level of difficulty is entirely offset by the lack of guilt borne of eating kale, rather than chips, by the handful.
A little more researched uncovered many recipes for these, and they’re all the same. So are most of the comments, all variations on this – “Wow. Really. These are GREAT.”
Assuming they aren’t all gone, they pack up and travel well for lunch to boot.
One bunch of kale, any kind
Salt (I used sea salt, but anything works)
Wash, if needed, and dry the kale. Note that it’s helpful for leaves be dry, as they may otherwise steam and not get crispy.
Hold each leaf by its thick stem. Pinch the base of the leaf with the fingers of the other hand and slide them up the stem. This will separate the leaves from the stem. Place the leaves in a large bowl, tearing the larger pieces into bite sized chunks as you go.
Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, then toss them with clean hands until the pieces are coated. Don’t over-salt like I did – use it only to enhance, not dominate.
Place the leaves in a single layer on a parchment- or silicone mat-covered baking sheet. Yes you may crowd them (they shrink with cooking) but no you may not overlap them much (they’ll stick together, then steam and not get crispy).
Bake at 350 for 12-14 minutes. They will look mostly flat and limp, but they will be light, crispy wonders.
Great photo of kale chips thanks to natalieskillercuisine.com
The weirdness continues: Kids LOVE these. They will eat more kale in one sitting than I’ve probably eaten in my lifetime, then ask for more.
Variations on a theme: Try them with cracked pepper; Seasoned salt of any kind (again only to enhance); Add a little apple cider or balsamic vinegar with the oil; How about minced garlic and/or red pepper? Try grated parmesan with the finished goods. As with most good recipes, this one is infinitely versatile to suit your own tastes – let me know what you try!
Oh! gotta go – the oven timer’s going off…for my third sheet of chips today….