Kale Crisps – It’s The Only Way

“Have you tasted kale? Boiled human hair is a delicacy in comparison.”

Celia Waldon, in The Telegraph

I’m pretty definite on the subject of kale. I’m sure it’s good for you, but I’m also sure it is not good to eat, or at least it’s really not all that interesting to eat. If you can get cavolo nero that is by far preferable. There is only one thing to be done with kale in my view, and that is to transform it, through the magical agents of heat and salt (lemon salt might be particularly nice), into with-drinks pick-at thingies – effectively kale crisps.

Of course, effectively, you can view kale crisps as a blank canvas – the base for all manner of wonderful flavours. You can sprinkle over dukkah; ras-el-hanout; a mix of Urfa pepper flakes and sesame seeds; or, as Emily Kydd in BBC Good Food suggests, a mix of equal quantities of ground cinnamon, turmeric and coriander.

You can use a more moderate oven to retain a greener colour, but the crisps won’t be so ‘crisp’. You can also make ahead, and ‘refresh’ in a moderate oven for three or four minutes.

Recipe for kale crisps

You need:

• a bag (about 50g) of pre-chopped, washed curly kale
• 4 sundried tomatoes (in oil are nicer), chopped very small
• 2 tbsp olive oil (you can use some from the sundried tomato jar if you want)
• 1 teasp lovely sweet, smoked Spanish paprika
• 1 teasp dry fried cumin seeds, crushed with a pestle and mortar
• 1 teasp smoked salt (it’s much better with smoked salt, it really makes a difference)
• 10 grinds Indonesian long pepper

This is broadly what to do:

1. preheat the oven to about 210º
2. take off any thick stems, tear into quite small pieces
3. mix all the other ingredients together in a dressing bottle and shake
4. put the kale into a big wooden salad bowl and dress thoroughly
5. put the kale in a roasting pan and put it in the oven with the door open for about fifteen minutes, keep a watch on it, it should be crispy but not burnt
6. serve immediately

“‘You’ll notice,’ Mary says ‘that there’s not much kale in the show’.
Is kale flashy, I wonder.
‘It’s the fashionable thing at the moment’ she says. ‘Four years ago it was given to horses. Now it’s everywhere, but I think it will pass’.
I can understand why she disapproves of zigzags and sous-vides, but I honestly thought kale was a good thing.
‘But don’t you like broccoli?’ she says, fixing me with her piercing blue eyes. ‘There’s broccoli, there’s spinach, there’s kale – they’re all just as good for you.’
‘And actually, unless it’s drenched in butter or deep-fried, kale is not that nice’ Doherty adds.”

Matt Rudd interviewing Mary Berry and Dan Doherty, in The Sunday Times, April 29 2018

kale crisps
evidence of the transforming power of heat and salt
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