I grilled a cheese sandwich on white peasant bread for my two year old for lunch today. While it was melting on the stove, he watched as I assembled my own lunch of brie and arugula on nutty multigrain with a drip of honey and a smear of Dijon. He ate my sandwich and left me with his. Serves me right, I guess. You never know if they’ll eat it unless you let them try it.
We’ve received an abundance of kale from our CSA in recent weeks, so with this theory in mind, I’m making kale chips for dinner tonight. Kale can be a tough sell; if it’s not super-fresh it can taste bitter and braising is really the only way to break down that tough leaf … unless you bake them in the oven.
At three hundred degrees for about twenty minutes, the kale comes out crispy, salty, and bright green. Once, I tried to cook the chips faster by raising the heat. Bad idea. The leaves are thin and have a lot of surface area, so they turned black before they were cooked through, and tasted burned and bitter. Then they crumbled to ash in my mouth.
Try to keep all of the pieces the same size so they cook evenly. If you wash the kale first, be sure to dry it thoroughly. Veggies roast better when they are dry, and if there’s water clinging to the leaves when you add the oil, it will slide right off. The oil is important because it helps with caramelization, keeps the chips from drying out, and it gives the salt something to stick to.
This is a lot to think about, but really the hardest step in this recipe is remembering to preheat the oven. Like spinach, this kale bakes down to nothing, so feel free to use a big bunch … just make sure they are spread in a single layer on your baking sheet. If they’re on top of each other they’ll steam and get soggy instead of drying out and crisping up, so use two sheets if needed.
- 1 big bunch of kale, washed, dried, stripped from the stalk, and torn into bite-size pieces
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
- In a large bowl, combine the kale pieces, olive oil, and salt. Divide between two baking sheets, and bake for twenty minutes. Let cool for about 5 minutes before serving.
- If you have leftovers, you can refrigerate and crisp up in a hot toaster oven for two or three minutes, though they’re much better the first time around.