Full disclosure: I am crazy for kale. And chard, and spinach and collards and turnip greens and rapini. If it’s green and leafy and bitter, I probably like to eat it. Probably a lot. Probably braised in chicken stock or wilted quickly with a fruity olive oil and lots of chopped garlic.
How this glitch in my otherwise chocolate/butter/cheese/sugar programming happened I’m not entirely sure, but I just thank my lucky stars that there’s some part of my brain that craves an vitamin-rich, calorie-sparse superfood along with the chocolate and cheddar.
My lovely sister-in-law first introduced me to baked kale chips, a surprisingly addictive treat she made for a family gathering. (Sapna is also very smart, and not only about interesting ways to prepare kale. She’s rocket scientist smart. By which I mean she’s an actual rocket scientist who launches satellites for a living. The girl’s got some serious brains in her head and she makes delicious snacks.)
Sapna baked wide fans of emerald-green kale into crunchy, salty, mineral toastiness, any bitterness mellowed by a roast in the oven, and I found it nearly impossible to talk about anything else over our cocktails. Leave it to the MIT grad to improve upon the potato chip: you can snack like crazy on these things without overdosing on all that saturated fat and salt. No pesky pangs of regret plus loads of antioxidants and terrific, crunchy flavor. Awesome!
Another welcome revelation: kale chips take about zero effort to make. A quick toss of olive oil and salt, 30 minutes in a relatively cool oven, and voilà: snacks. I cut mine into smaller pieces, since my market’s kale was on the skinny side; leave in larger pieces for drama, or crush up and sprinkle over popcorn. No advanced engineering degrees required.
- 2 dozen leaves of Tuscan kale (also known as lacinto or dinosaur kale)
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 tsp salt
- ground pepper
Preheat oven to 25o degrees. Rinse kale and pat dry. Remove the tough stems and inner ribs from the kale; cut to desired size.
In a large bowl, toss kale leaves to coat evenly with olive oil, salt and pepper. Arrange in a single layer on baking sheets; bake for 30 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. Serve.