Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Baked Kale Crisps

Now I know that all the cake around here may, just may, have given the opposite impression, but to tell the truth I prefer savoury to sweet. Put something in a bowl covered in salt, and I will not be able to keep my fingers away until it's all gone. Crisps, nuts, wasabi peas, little cheesy biscuits, olives, breadsticks, crostini - savoury snacks float my boat every time. As far as I'm concerned, the mark of a truly indulgent meal isn't the pudding, it's the cheese course. Well, actually, let's be honest. A truly indulgent meal needs both.

But this is not the way of the healthy. I might dress it up by saying that I have low blood sugar, that sometimes I need some kind of snack while hungrily waiting for dinner - but as persistent nibblers know, it's all too easy to finish a big bag of crisps without even noticing. Determined to find some kind of nibble that wasn't too boring, and wasn't too unhealthy, I spotted this crisp-substitute online and thought it had to be worth a go. 

Now I know that it sounds like lunacy. Surely baking kale in the oven would make it tough, or soggy, or burnt, or just plain disgusting? My nose wrinkled at the thought of it, as no doubt yours is now. But I had nothing to lose, and tried them in the spirit of experimentation and they were completely and utterly fantastic. They totally blew me away. As my partner-in-crime put it, they taste exactly like crispy shredded seaweed from a Chinese takeaway, which means that they tasted very good indeed. I'm already plotting a dusting of cashew nut and brown sugar the next time I make these - is that whatever they put on seaweed? But you can trust me, there will definitely be a next time. No matter how disgusting they look, I am going to bulk-buy kale from now on. Crisps! Made of kale! Nope, still can't get over it.

Baked Kale Crisps
From Smitten Kitchen

- curly kale, washed and cut into pieces
- olive oil
- salt, pepper and any other flavourings you like

Preheat the oven to 150C and line a big baking tray with parchment.

Drizzle a small spoonful of olive oil over the kale - you don't want it swimming, just faintly glistening. Then scatter with a few grindings of salt, and any other flavourings you want. I tried a few drops of balsamic vinegar, which was really good, and next time I'm going for some smoked paprika or cayenne. 

Toss it all together then spread out the kale in roughly a single layer over the baking tray, and bake for 20 minutes or until crisp.

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