The Cheap-Ass Gourmet: Dr Smiter’s “OMG, are these really vegetables??” Kale Chips
Kale is one of those vegetables that many people — some seasoned vegetarians among them — believe was put on this Earth simply as an instrument of torment, to be avoided at all costs.
I am, however, not one of them. Although I’m not a vegetarian, I am what can be loosely termed a “veggie monster.” I love vegetables: raw, steamed, roasted, broiled, barbecued, boiled, in salads… you name it. With the possible exception of parsnips (which look to me like carrots that just aren’t trying hard enough) I have never met a vegetable I didn’t like.
For a while now, several of my friends have been urging me to try kale chips and although I am, as I said, a veggie monster, I confess the idea gave me pause. I suppose somewhere in my little reptilian brain a still, small voice was trying to merge “kale” and “chips” with the same success I’d have merging, say, “salmon” and “ice cream.”
But last week I found myself in possession of a honkin’ big bunch of kale (the way one does) and thought, not without trepidation, “Well, now seems as good a time as any to give this a whirl. Worst that can happen is a cookie sheet covered in burnt mush, right?”
Wrong. Within 30 minutes of that little thought blasting through my head, I was in a veritable lather of gustatory ecstasy, posting my greasy-fingered raptures on Twitter and Facebook like a teenager discovering, well, whatever it is that teenagers discover & rave about for the first time.
So, without further ado, may I present to you the yummiest after-dinner snack, like, EVER. Ermagerd.
Time needed: about 30 minutes total, unless you really suck at washing veggies or something.
You will need:
- one nice fresh bunch of kale
- extra-virgin olive oil
- [bacon fat, melted — absolutely optional; I had some in the fridge & simply used it up here]
- fresh-ground pepper
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Wash the kale leaves and stems. Tear them into bite-sized (OK, potato chip-sized — who are we fooling??) pieces.
NOTE: if you’re just making these for yourself, use just half the bunch of kale. These do not keep overnight, and this recipe makes a butt-load of kale chips.
Dry/spin them as well as you can, and then place them in a big bowl, or, ideally, a clean plastic bag. (You can use a dirty plastic bag, of course, but I wouldn’t advise that.) Pour a good dollop of oil and fat, if you’re using it (a couple of tablespoons), over the leaves, and add the salt and pepper.
Seal the bag tightly, puffing some air into it (basically you’re making a balloon full of kale leaves & seasoning) and give that sucker a shake. If you’re using a bowl, obviously do NOT shake it, unless you enjoy eating oily kale off the floor. Stir it. Stir, stir, stir.
Once everything is coated nicely, arrange the pieces loosely on a cookie sheet and pop it in the oven for 15 minutes.
Remove from oven, scrape your chips into a bowl, and prepare to be gob-smacked with the deliciousness of it all.
Total cost is whatever you paid for your kale, so about 2 bucks (unless you shop at a specialty organic store, in which case it’s about 4 bucks plus whatever bail the judge sets after you punch out that insufferable twat in the Express line holding everyone else up while she demands to know whether the organic herbal teas are gluten free).
I hope they have kale chips in hell. See you there. ;0)
~exit Smiter, to sound of crunching