February 23, 2014

Roasted Kale

I love roasted kale. Kale "chips" are as good as potato chips but you can eat them feeling more virtuous. They are a great fall/winter side dish. We've had them lots of ways...

Once we made roasted kale as part of 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've served roasted kale 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 have eaten roasted kale with chicken.

And we almost always have it on the side of sandwiches for dinner (especially Monte Cristos or Reubens). 

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, I've found many recipes out there are more complicated than they need to be. For example, the Saveur salad recipe at the top called for citric acid and a lot of oil to make them-- 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.

While you roast it with oil and salt like any other vegetable, or any other roasted veg, I generally do 400 or 425 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. 

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. 
Here are some photos of the process (when I was still getting kale out of my garden in the fall, I cut it straight into the salad spinner outside):

Roasted Kale, or Kale Chips

1 bunch kale
olive oil
sea salt

Remove ribs from the kale, then chop it into roughly 2-inch pieces. 

Wash the chopped kale and spin well so it isn't wet. 

Put in large roasting pan. Drizzle with olive oil back and forth several times. Sprinkle with salt as you would other roasted vegetables (I do a couple 2- to 3-finger pinches of sea salt all over). It's okay if it is really full because it will cook down a lot. 

Roast at 375. Gently toss after 5 or 10 minutes and then check it often thereafter. Roast until edges are starting to brown and it is almost all crispy. Enjoy! 

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