Sunday, September 18, 2011

Crispy Kale Chips

I’ve gotten a handful of kale chip questions lately. Kale chips are a snack I’ve made for years but never thought of as blog material. My mistake. They’re easy as pie to make and completely satisfy that crunchy, salty kind of craving. And if you’re someone who isn’t keen on the taste of leafy greens, this will change everything.

Kale is an unsung hero of sorts. It is one of the most nutritious foods you can possibly eat but doesn’t get nearly the attention it deserves. I’ve met a surprising number of people who only recognize it as that leafy salad bar decoration but wouldn’t have the slightest idea how to cook it. I have quite a few tasty ideas, but let’s start with the chips.

These are so simple you don’t even need a recipe. Wash a bunch of kale and strip the leaves from the fibrous stems (the stems have no place in the chip world; they won’t get crisp in the oven). Tear the kale leaves into large pieces and dry them really, really well. Place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet and drizzle with a bit of oil. Sprinkle with flaky kosher salt, toss well and spread out to form a single layer. It’s important not to overlap here – you might need to do this in batches. Bake in a 350°F oven for about 15 minutes or until the chips are dry and crisp.

You’ll be amazed at how delicious these are. Mine never last more than 10 minutes but if you can summon the willpower, save a few to crush over some freshly buttered popcorn. 

I’m somewhat of a purist so I like the clean flavor of lightly salted chips, but these would be the perfect vehicle for a multitude of spice combinations. Salt and vinegar, truffle, or chili garlic chips anyone?