A couple of St. Louis restaurants are famous for their flash-fried spinach. People like the spinach so much, I get tempted again and again. But to my taste, it's just a greasy pile of greens, especially because it cools down so fast, becoming a cold greasy pile of greens. Eww.
I figured that the food-blog famous kale chips would be the same. But not! They taste fresh and alive and I just love the crispy-salty texture. I have the idea that they'd make a quick pre-supper snack, a way to stave off hunger with something hot and nutritious while cooking the meal.
There's a Woody Allen line about the difference betweeen Episcopalians and Catholics: "All of the pomp, none of the guilt". The same applies to kale chips and flash-fried spinach: "All of the greens, none of the grease."
RECIPE for CRISPY SALTY KALE CHIPS
Time to table: 20 minutes
Fresh kale - at my grocery, 3 bunches weigh a pound
Olive oil - allow about 1 tablespoon per pound of kale
Apple cider vinegar or mustard - allow about 1 tablespoon per pound
Preheat the oven to 375F, 400F, up to about 450F. The higher the temperature, the faster the roasting. Cover a rimmed baking sheet with foil.
Under running water, wash each kale leaf carefully, splaying the leaves to get into the crevasses. Arrange in a single layer on a double layer of paper towels. When the paper towels are completely covered, put another paper towel on top and press gently to remove as much water as possible. (See TIPS.)
In a bowl, mix the oil and vinegar or mustard. Add the kale and loosely swirl the leaves around to distribute the oil mixture. With your hands, rub the leaves together, the objective is to cover every bit of leaf with the oil and mustard/vinegar, working the oil into the leaves. Arrange the leaves in a single layer on the baking sheet. "Rain" with salt -- be generous!
Bake for 5 minutes to start, then stir around and bake for another 5 or 10 minutes. We like the kale best when it's still quite green but with some salty crispiness versus completely crispy. Tastes may vary so taste as you go along! Serve hot! Savor!
ALANNA's TIPS & KITCHEN NOTES
I have the idea that Kale Chips just might be a great snack preceding supper, something to snack on while cooking. If so, I'd do the primary prep step in advance, so the cleaning and drying, maybe even the cutting, would be done ahead of time.
I tried the kale using just oil and salt but love the dimension that a little bit of acid from either mustard or vinegar (or lemon juice, say) added.
~ Quick 'Massaged' Kale Salad ~
~ Seductive Kale Salad ~
~ Potato, Cabbage & Rapini Colcannon ~
~ more kale recipes ~
from A Veggie Venture
~ Sausage & Kale Split Pea Soup ~
~ Hearty Healthy Chicken Stew with Chickpeas & Kale ~
~ Lucky Black-Eyed Pea Soup ~
~ more kale recipes ~
from Kitchen Parade, my food column