In the mood for something salty and crunchy that’s fresh and crispy too? How about kale chips … that you make at home.
We hear you laughing from here. Kale? As a chip? Yes, ye of little faith. Turns out that if you prep it right, the curly green collection of cruciferousness crisps up after barely 10 minutes in the oven. And if you season it right, well, let’s just say that our testers (a teenager who doesn’t care for cruciferous veggies, particularly when they’re cooked, and his mom, who really appreciates a nice chip) polished off what amounted to an entire bunch of kale, scarfing down the chips the way some people (not us, of course…) shovel in popcorn at the movies.
To make these chips you need just a handful of ingredients: Kale (we used curly green), olive oil or cooking spray (we tried it with each) and salt (we used sea salt, but any kind is fine). We also used parmesan cheese, but more about that later.
Preparation is the key to crispy kale chips. First, try to make the leaves about the same size, so they’ll take the same amount of time to bake. Second, the kale needs to be as dry as you can get it before adding the oil. If there’s a bit of water in between the leaf and the fat, the chip will be on the limp side, as opposed to crunchy.
Oh, and you know how you’re supposed to eat chips in moderation? Well, forget that with these. They’re kale. They’re good for you. Crunch and enjoy.
1 bunch of kale (we used curly green)
1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil (alternatively, use olive oil cooking spray)
1/2 teaspoon of salt
(Optional: parmesan cheese, garlic powder, cayenne, chili powder)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
First, tear the little leaves off of the thick part of the stem. Doing so may seem like a big production, but it’s actually pretty and easy. At more or less the midpoint of a long leaf and stem of kale, lightly squeeze the stem between your index finger and thumb. Now, with the index finger and thumb of your other hand, pull the kale, leafy part first, away from the squeezing hand. This helps you remove all the little leafy pieces. (Save them for soup or whatever.) Next, cut off the stems. Now, try to tear the remaining large kale leaves into pieces all about the same size (2 or 3 inches or so is nice), so that they’ll cook uniformly. Now, wash your leaves. Now, dry your leaves. (We did this in a salad spinner.) Now dry them again. You want them to be as dry as can be.
Next, cover two baking sheets with parchment or aluminum foil. (We used foil because it’s cheaper and recyclable.)
Now for the oil. Our testers said that if they were forced to choose (which they were), they would opt for the chips made with real oil. However, they were perfectly happy with the sprayed chips. To make the chips with oil, put the dry kale leaves in a bowl and drizzle the oil over them, then toss them about so they all get oiled. Next, lay the oiled leaves one by one on the foil-lined cookie sheets. If you’re spraying instead, put the leaves one by one on the cookie sheets, then give them a quick spritz with the spray. Next, sprinkle the salt over the sheets.
Next, put them in the oven to bake. Ours took about 10 minutes, just until they were a bit darkened around the edges. Don’t let them get too dark, though, or they will taste burned. Once you take them out of the oven, sprinkle with whichever optional ingredients you like. Our testers enjoyed parmesan the best of all.
By Carol Leonetti Dannhauser