When my mom was a little girl, her dad would threaten to put any vegetables she didn’t finish eating at dinner under her pillow (broccoli usually played a starring role in this story), to be eaten, mushy and cold, the next day for breakfast. Now, I’m not sure if it ever actually came to that (gosh, I hope not), but I’d hazard to say that this scare tactic did little to encourage her interest in green vegetables. Nowadays, my mom is a grown woman (one would hope – right?) with children of her own, and despite that early roadblock eats her vegetables with relish, but I’d wager that she missed out on a few years of cruciferous-veggie-munching largely due to that early trauma.
Looking back to my childhood, I’m sure my mom was tempted to pull out this move from time to time during my beige period*; luckily, she’s a smart woman, and showed restraint. Making any sort of food into the enemy never has made much sense to me (or my mom), all it seems to do is discourage interest in the offensive item.
*No, I’m not a famous artist. Rather, I went through a disturbingly long period as a child where most foods that passed my lips were, you guessed it, beige.
Despite my mom’s best hands-off efforts, I’m still a staunch avoider of broccoli (there’s something about that cruciferous veggie funk and the floret’s texture that skeeves me out), but I’m starting to come around to its cousin kale; baby steps, right? Now, I won’t exaggerate and say that I eat bushels of the stuff (we’re still in the early stages of our friendship), but I will happily munch on a pile of these. Tangy, with a satisfying crackle and crunch, these have at least nudged me in the right direction.
Quite honestly I’m not sure how long these keep, since I’ve never had them last much more than a couple hours. If you’re like me, and want a chip with an intensely sharp flavor, you might sprinkle on a little extra vinegar just before eating (like you might with malt vinegar on french fries), but try them without it first, since they already have a decent bite to them. Keep in mind that they will eventually get soggy if you add that extra sprinkle of vinegar, that is if (and this is a big IF) you don’t finish them all first.
1 bunch kale
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat.
Tear the kale into bite size pieces, avoiding the tough center rib. Whisk together the olive oil, vinegar and salt in a large mixing bowl. Toss the kale with the dressing. Lay the kale out on the prepped baking sheet in a single layer; depending on the size of your bunch of kale, you may need to use a second baking sheet.
Bake for 9-12 minutes, or until kale is just crispy and beginning to brown. Allow to cool and ENJOY!
I used dinosaur kale (also known as Tuscan or lacinato kale) here, but I would imagine any variety would work.
After testing these out with a variety of vinegars I found that balsamic was my favorite as the sweetness added a little something extra; white, and sherry are other good options.
The dressing will taste very sharp before baking, but let me suggest that you go against your instinct to up the olive oil/use less vinegar, as the heat of the oven softens the acidity quite a bit. When I tried this out with less vinegar you could barely taste it on the chips once cooked.
You might notice in the pictures that I didn’t use parchment paper to line the baking sheet, you don’t need it, but if you choose not to use it, you should flip the kale pieces midway through baking, or they will stick to the pan. I decided that flipping each piece was a bit fussy, hence my recommendation to line the baking sheets with parchment.