Kale chips. Photo by Felicia Orth
Dino Kale Chips
Kale chips are easy and inexpensive to make, and fun to eat. The kale that tastes best as a chip is Lacinato kale, also referred to as “Dino kale” or “Tuscan kale.” Lacinato kale was cultivated in Italy in the 18th century, and grown in Thomas Jefferson’s garden in 1777.
To assure crisp, delicious chips, just observe a few pointers: make sure the kale leaves are dry before oiling. Use very little oil and salt and bake the leaves in a single layer on the baking pan. Store them in an airtight container only after they are completely cool. Kale chips are usually eaten out of hand; they can also be crumbled into soups, potato salad and other dishes in which a bit of mild green earthiness is desirable.
Dino kale (lacinato). Photo by Felicia Orth
1 bunch Lacinato or other kale
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ teaspoon salt or garlic salt
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
Wash and dry the kale well. With a paring knife or kitchen shears, remove the leafy part of the kale from the central spine, and tear or cut the leaves into pieces no longer than 3 inches. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, mix the seasoning with the oil, then add the kale leaves and rub the leaves so as to cover most of each piece of leaf with the salted oil. [You might be tempted to add more salt or oil—don’t do it! Any more oil and the leaves will not crisp; any more salt and the baked leaves will be too salty to eat.]
Place the leaf pieces in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and bake for 12 minutes, watching in the last two minutes that the leaves are not burning. A convection oven helps crisp the leaves evenly; otherwise turn the leaves halfway through the baking time.
Check the crispness of the leaves. If they are not entirely crisp, either bake for another minute or two, or turn the oven off and leave the baking sheets inside the oven for a while. When the leaves are completely cool, they can be stored in an airtight container for several days.
Other than taking care to not over-salt, try experimenting with another oil like sesame oil, or other seasoning such as an Italian blend, parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast.
Editor’s note: Felicia Orth is a local home cook; she can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.