It’s that time of the year when your CSA unloads on you yet another pound of kale. “Mmm, kale and beets. I’m so glad I joined this CSA. Nothing says summer like week upon week of beets.” I don’t actually belong to a CSA, because in Brooklyn it’s like $600 a season, but it’s still the authentic feeling I get when I see kale. Still, having 1) once again being smitten by the beauty of kale, and subsequently 2) realizing yet again “fuck, I have to eat this,” yet also 3) I need to stop being such a fatty queen; I decided to buy them and try kale chips. It’s the best of both worlds!
If I were a better food blogger, I’d probably be able to tell you exactly what type of kale this is. I can tell you it’s not Tuscan, and it’s not curly; it’s what the farmer’s market had available for $2.
1 bunch of kale
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350 with the rack in the center. Cut the ribs from the middle of each leaf and discard. Roughly separate with your hands (or use the accidental cuts in the leaves that your shitty knife work surely produced) into chip-sized pieces. Having a tiny oven and only the one baking sheet (which I bought because it was the maximum size my oven could hold, natch), I did the chips in batches. The first batch I gracefully nestled on the baking sheet, taking care not to let any two overlap too much. Obviously, I’m in possession of an olive oil infusion mister, so duh I used that to coat the leaves with a light layer. Wondering if I had farted, I realized that the garlic cloves so artfully infusing the oil had perhaps been in there too long. “Hmm, wait, but there was that one time in Dijon where our neighbors had preserved a pear in booze. Oil preserves everything. Oh crap, that anecdote isn’t actually helpful,” I internally monologued. Oopser doopsers. Next sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Flip the leaves and repeat. Bake.
Having lost my only sheet pan (and still unsure if I had farted), I tried prepping the next batch in a bowl. While it was certainly much easier to just dump the oil, salt, and pepper; I found I had easily over oiled it. The first batch, the farty ones, turned out…edible. It would seem 20 minutes was too long. Great for your next fall holiday table arrangement. Plus, they weren’t salty enough, so I did the second batch for 15 minutes and with extra salt. Turned out great! Oh, and don’t worry if when you take out the first batch it looks like you’ll need to scrape them into the trash because you’ve ruined the pan. Instead, carefully pull them off one by one with your hands. Surprisingly, I had no breaks, and they all came off cleanly — even separating from each other.
So what do they taste like? Well, they’re very flaky like nori. The taste is somewhat like the skin of a roasted potato. The best comparison I can make though, surrounds the odor; the smell of baking kale, it turns out, is very reminiscent of baking Brussels sprous. And by that I mean, they smell delicious but drive my husband mad. “Ugh, stop farting up the kitchen!” If he only knew.