I have no reason to dislike kale, but it’s one of those vegetables that I don’t usually buy. It probably has everything to do with location. At the grocery store down the street where do most of my shopping, the kale-in-a-bag sits perkily next to collard greens in-a-bag which sits next to the fresh cut fruit in-a-bowl. And that’s the section that I avoid.
Fruit is not that hard to cut and I just can’t get myself to pay an extra $2.00 a pound for someone to cut fruit into big chunks, package them in a cheap plastic container and then suffocated with plastic wrap. I’m a hypocrite because I happily buy green beans in a bag, asparagus on a styrofoam tray, chicken in a vacuum bag and orange juice in a box. Just not fresh fruit.
When I was in New York last week, my friend Grace asked me if I had ever tried crispy kale chips. At first I thought it was one of those fancy health food products, made with gourmet ingredients like tricalcium phospate, hydrogenated soybean oil and ascorbic acid. But no, Grace said, just kale, olive oil and salt. So, I had to try and now I’m hooked. The kale leaves bake to a shatteringly crisp, crackly snack. They really shouldn’t be called chips, they look nothing like them, but when I called them chips, the kids came running to try.
Oh, and for the record, I’m totally okay with buying kale in-a-bag, I just give the fruit in-a-bowl the evil eye as I walk by.
How to make Kale Chips
Start with a big bag of kale.
And the most important step is to spin dry the leaves.
Then drizzle in some olive oil
Toss to coat. Here’s another secret – do not salt the kale just yet. Adding salt before it goes into the oven is just bad, soggy news. The salt will make the kale leaves leach out some water, which in turn will make them soggy in the oven. And that means soggy kale, not crispy kale.
After tossing with olive oil, bake in the oven until the leaves are shatteringly crisp but still bright green. Timing depends on how much olive oil you use. Then season with salt.
And then you call it “Kale Chips” see if your kids will eat it.
Kale Chips Recipe
The biggest secret to getting the kale super-crisp is to dry them in a salad spinner. If there is moisture on the leaves, the kale will steam, not crisp. Also, do not salt the kale until after they have come out of the oven. If you salt beforehand, the salt will just cause the kale to release moisture...thus steaming instead of crisping. I've also found that the convection setting on my oven works really well too - I set the convection on 325F and bake for about 10-15 minutes. Have fun with this recipe, I sometimes mix the salt with Cajun or Creole seasoning.
Ingredients:4 giant handfuls of kale, torn into bite-sized pieces and tough stems removed (about 1/3 pound)
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
sea salt or kosher salt
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Place the kale leaves into a salad spinner and spin all of the water out of the kale. Dump the water and repeat one or two times more just to make sure that the kale is extra dizzy and dry. Use a towel to blot any extra water on the leaves. Place the kale on the baking sheet.
3. Drizzle olive oil over the kale leaves and use your hands to toss and coat the leaves. Bake in the oven for 12-20 minutes until leaves are crisp. Take a peek at the 12 minute mark - the timing all depends on how much olive oil you use. Just use a spatula or tongs to touch the leaves, if they are paper-thin crackly, the kale is done. If the leaves are still a bit soft, leave them in for another 2 minutes. Do not let the leaves turn brown (they'll be burnt and bitter) Remove from oven, sprinkle with salt and serve.