For the love of Kale

Curly kale
Image via Wikipedia
Fall is upon us so I’ve been preserving corn relish (from Niemi Family Farm) and canning black currant jelly made from the berries we picked from the garden in July.
Today, I thought I’d try something different. I picked up two huge bunches of kale, crinkly and firm, from the East Gwillimbury Farmers’ Market. I usually add it to smoothies so I can feel virtuous, but I wanted a main dish or an appetizer so we’d be motivated to consume more of this incredibly healthy leafy green.

I keyboarded over to one of my favourite food websites – www.bonappetit.com – where I have always been able to find a recipe for whatever it is that I want to make. I searched for ‘kale’ and found a recipe for Roasted Kale Chips. Simple, fast and oh, so addictive!

Heat your oven to 350 degrees. Wash and spin dry the kale. Tear large pieces off the tough middle stem then toss in a large metal bowl with a couple of teaspoons of olive oil (Kirkland brand is quite good) and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Spread a piece of parchment paper on a large baking pan then arrange the kale in a single layer. Pop into the oven on the top shelf and bake for about 10 minutes, checking after 7 minutes to test how crispy the chips are. When they’re done to your liking, take them out and let the pan cool on the stove, then pile them on a plate and dig in. You’ll be surprised at how complex the flavours become after roasting. I think the chips would make a great garnish, too, because of the crinkly edges and bright colour.

I found that you can use less salt to start, because the drying process concentrates the flavour. I think they’d be amazing with another taste favourite – crushed fresh garlic swirled into the olive oil in the bowl before you add the kale. You’d have to watch the temperature, though, because garlic burns quickly and when it does, it gets very bitter. No one likes bitter garlic or a bitter companion!

Here’s another yummy web find – Smitten Kitchen, penned by someone calling herself a “fearless cook working in a small kitchen in New York”. She has a way with words and her photographs are ah-inspiring!  http://smittenkitchen.com/2010/03/baked-kale-chips/. I’m trying to be disciplined and not eat all of the kale chips tonight while we’re watching X Factor. But if I do, I won’t feel too guilty. A big plus – if you carefully slip the kale chips into ziploc bags, you can freeze them. They make a bright green garnish for bland-coloured foods or when sprinkled over or curried carrot sweet potato soup.
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