Just when you think you know your chips – the potato, taro, tortilla, corn, Doritos – along comes a cockeyed story from a cousin about making chips from kale.
Skeptical from the start, I made some and they’re a melt in your mouth green sensation. Light crispy morsels of kale, definitely kale. It’s a revelation that I can whip these up in my kitchen. Kale is in its heyday and begging to be eaten fairly regularly right now so I figured the chips were worth a shot, hair-brained idea or not.
We pair our favorite chips with all kinds of sauces and dips so why not kale chips? When I remembered the sweet roasted pepper dip hanging out in the fridge I scooped in with a couple of still-warm kale crisps. Num. I thought later what a healthy combo, kale chips and sweet pepper dip, each embellished with a little olive oil and not much else. Their nutritional veggie value isn’t compromised.
To Make Kale Chips: I harvested five or six stalks of kale, removed the center stem and cut leaves into potato chip-sized pieces (per cousin Edie’s instructions) and ended up with 5 cups. After making sure leaves were relatively dry I sprinkled the bowlful with about 2 tablespoons of olive oil (and a tiny smidge of truffle oil if you have it), a pinch of salt and 1 finely chopped garlic (garlic powder would be fine, maybe better). Toss it all thoroughly, spread out on a cookie sheet and bake in a 325º oven for 20 – 30 minutes. After 20 minutes check kale periodically; when they’re crispy and slightly darkened remove from the oven.
When I saw the kale chips in a bowl I recognized a favorite autumnal treasure, dried leaves. The roasted kale, dried, shriveled and crispy, resemble the season’s spent leaves, except that these are edible and nutritious; and I won’t be collecting and pressing any of them under my heaviest atlas.
One caveat: We found some of the chips to be slightly bitter, though we munched on a plateful throughout the conversation about bitter. Smaller, younger leaves may be better; a frost sometimes boosts the sweet side of Brassicas; or, soaking leaves in warm salty water for half an hour before roasting might be helpful. Other suggestions?
Many dips would work with kale chips, including this Roasted Red Pepper Dip, and if you happen to have Billy’s summer peppers in the freezer, bingo. Roast three olive oiled red peppers in a 450º oven for about 20 minutes/ Remove from the oven when skins are becoming charred/ Cover immediately with a piece of foil and let sit for 20 minutes longer/ Remove charred skins from peppers along with seeds and place in a blender or food processor/ Add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, 1/2 teaspoon or so of cumin and turmeric, salt & pepper to taste/ Process and adjust flavorings to suit yourself. The kale chips are delicate so the dip shouldn’t be thick, but slightly on the saucy side.
So Edie, apologies for ever doubting kale chips and thank you.