Known as “kale chips” to most, this dish has become wildly fashionable and may be a major cause of kale’s recent surge in popularity. For families eager to embrace healthful snack foods without giving up the magic trio of salt, fat and crispness, it’s just the thing, and I find a plate of it set out for the grandkids disappears just as fast as you can say “potato chip.” Slow cooking at a low temperature allows the kale chips to become crisp without browning. You can add many things to crispy kale, such as garlic or cheese, but I like this simple version best.
• 1 bunch kale (about 8 stems, or 1/4 pound)
• 2 tbsp olive oil
• Generous pinch of coarse sea salt
1. Preheat the oven to 225 degrees Fahrenheit. Pull the green part of the kale off the ribs in roughly 2-inch pieces. Discard the ribs, or save for another use. From here, one method is to toss the kale and olive oil in a large bowl with your hands, massaging the leaves a bit to soften them if they’re extra-firm, and then baking them on a cookie sheet. But I have had even better luck just smearing the cookie sheet with the oil and placing the leaves on it. This distributes the oil uniformly. Spread the leaves in just 1 layer, using 2 sheets. I bake curly kale for about 12 minutes, flip the leaves over with a spatula, and bake 4 minutes more. Thin-leaved Tuscan types or the ‘Red Russian’ variety take a bit less time, and there’s no need to flip them.
2. Serve right away, or leave out for nibblers who wander by. Chips will keep — and stay crisp — for several days at room temperature.
More about cooking with spinach and kale: Read Fall Finery: Grow and Cook Kale and Spinach for additional cooking tips and recipes featuring these cool-weather favorites.
Barbara Damrosch creates fresh recipes using the bounty of her garden with her husband, Eliot Coleman, at Four Season Farm in Harborside, Maine. She is the author of The Garden Primer and, with Coleman, of The Four Season Farm Gardener’s Cookbook.