By Analiese Paik
A few years ago I blogged about making kale chips, but it bears revisiting because people are suddenly crazy about kale. Don’t believe me? Do a quick Twitter search (twitter.com/search), for #kale or #kalechips and you’ll see just how many other people are sharing their love of kale, along with recipes and nutrition facts. Fortunately, CT farmers are growing this green beauty and it’s in season right now.
- Kale is in season (any variety, curly or flat, will do)
- Kale chips are delicious
- Kale chips are easy to make
- Kale chips are kid friendly
- Kale chips last longer than fresh kale
It’s easy to see why kale chips deserve another blog post showing you how to make them. Here it goes, a photo recipe for the easiest vegetable snack (yup!) you’ll ever make and wonder why you never did before. Put them out before dinner when everyone is moaning about how hungry they are, serve them to beer drinkers, put them in your children’s lunch boxes, take them on a picnic and serve them as an extra vegetable with dinner.
- Bunch of fresh kale, preferably organic from a local farm
- Good olive oil, preferably organic
- Good, fine grain sea salt
- Oven with three racks
- Three rimmed sheet pans
- Very large bowl
- Cutting board
- Salad spinner
- Very sharp chef’s knife
- Metal spatula
- Container or bag for storing the chips
- Preheat oven to anywhere between 250 and 300 degrees. The cooking will go faster at a higher temperature, but you’ll have to keep a closer eye on the chips to make sure they don’t brown.
- Lay the kale in a pile next to your cutting board. Please the kale leaves, one at a time, on the cutting board and remove the leaves from them stem by running your knife down each side of the center rib, starting at the top and ending where the leaf ends. Compost the stems.
- Gather the leaves and rinse them in cold water in a salad spinner. Spin until mostly dry, but some water is still clinging to them (it makes distributing the oil easier).
- Put 2 heaping handfuls of the leaves into a large bowl, drizzle on some olive oil, and toss with your hands to distribute the oil evenly over the leaves. After a minute or two all the leaves will look evenly coated.
- Lay the leaves in a single layer, but snug against one another, on a rimmed sheet pan. My pans are well seasoned from years of use, so chips never stick. If in doubt, line your pans with parchment paper or a non-stick liner like Silpat. Sprinkle all the leaves evenly from a height with fine sea salt. Coarse sea salt will overpower the chips.
- Prepare next two trays the same way, then put all three into the oven and set the timer for 10 minutes.
- After 10 minutes rotate the trays to ensure even cooking. Move the bottom tray to the middle, top tray to the bottom, and the middle tray to the top. Set time for 10 more minutes.
- After a total of 20 minutes cooking time, check for doneness on each tray by lifting a chip with your spatula. If it’s light as a feather and doesn’t feel damp at all to the touch, it’s done. Do not let them brown or they will be very bitter. Check again every 2-3 minutes.
- Remove tray and let cool when done. Remove chips from tray with a spatula and store in a lidded container or plastic bag. Store at room temperature for a few days.
Variation: replace olive oil with toasted sesame oil (and toasted sesame seeds if you have them) for Asian inspired kale chips.