February 23, 2014

Roasted Kale

I love roasted kale.

Most recently we had it in this salad (the recipe is here, from Saveur). I would never have thought to serve it as part of a larger dish, but I really enjoyed the contrast of the crispy roasted kale with the fresh salad greens (I used arugula), and a lemony-cheesy dressing drizzled over the whole. Just imagine how pretty it would have been if I had also had the pomegranate seeds the recipe called for. 

We served roasted kale back at Thanksgiving, to round out a simple mid-afternoon appetizer of some of our favorite cheeses, dried cherries, olives, sweet tomato jam, and baguette slices. It was great as part of this type of spread. And again, a nice contrast with the other stuff.

 We also have eaten roasted kale with chicken, 

with supper sandwiches,

and alongside almost anything we're having. 

This is the same thing as kale chips. The internet has no shortage of kale chip recipes, and probably everybody knows how to make them, but I had to include my feelings on the dish here because, besides that it is my favorite way to eat kale, the name chip seems to mystify the making of these (or did for me at least when I first heard of kale chips and was definitely skeptical). The Saveur salad recipe at the top called for citric acid and a lot of oil-- not necessary. Also not necessary to fuss with laying them out individually on a pan. There are no special ingredients, though I am sure you could play around with extra spices or seasonings if you wanted. Just a few drizzles back and forth of oil, a couple 2- to 3-finger pinches of salt, and pepper if you want it.

I think of it as roasted kale rather than kale chips, since my sister first introduced me to the idea of serving kale this way, because to make it you roast it with oil and salt, like any other vegetable. For any other roasted veg, I generally do 400 degrees, but lately I've been turning the oven down to 375 for kale and I think that's better. 400 works, and it goes very quickly, but you have to catch it at that perfect stage before it's too browned. 375 slows it down just a bit but seems a safer bet. 

Whenever we have kale and don't feel like this soup and this salad and this torte, or just eating it as a raw salad green, we roast it. It's great when you have a lot of kale to use, because it shrinks down so much when it's cooked, and I at least can not eat just a few. This honestly fills the place of potato chips for me-- something I find so addictive but generally try to behave myself and not buy. 

It we have a little bit of roasted kale left at the end of dinner, it gets packed up to go in one of our lunches the next day. I put it in the fridge for the night, and maybe I don't need to. But it doesn't de-crisp after one night in the fridge and is as much of a salty treat in my lunch the next day. 
So, the process (when I was still getting kale out of my garden in the fall, I cut it straight into the salad spinner outside):

Cut ribs from kale and compost them.

Chop leaves into roughly 2-inch pieces. Wash in salad spinner and spin dry (I think it's a lot easier to wash after ribbing and chopping it).

Put in roasting pan, drizzle with oil, sprinkle with salt as you would other roasted vegetables, and toss. It's okay if the pan is really full because it will cook down a lot.
Roast at 375 for a bit. Toss once after 5 or 10 minutes then check it periodically until it's done-- when edges are starting to brown and it is almost all crispy. It doesn't take nearly as long as other roasted vegetables.

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