How to make the perfect kale chipAugust 13, 2012
I don’t know how this happened. Somehow kale chips fell off my radar. A friend brought a batch over the other day and as we gobbled them up with the help of our two toddlers (yes that’s right, picky kids happily eating kale!) I was like…
Yo kale chips, where you been all my life??
By the way, only really awesome friends bring you kale chips.
If you haven’t already heard, kale chips are nutrient-dense crispy “chips” made with kale in your oven. Seriously. Almost like potato chips. They’re perfect for snacking, as a side dish, and as a way to trick vegetable haters into eating their greens. (My stepdad won’t touch green vegetables but is a huge kale chip fan ever since I brought a batch to Thanksgiving a few years ago. Now they’re all my family asks for.)
Today I want to address a serious kale chip matter
It seems that many of you have trouble getting your glorious green chips to crisp up just right. Sometimes they burn. Sometimes they just stay limp and lifeless. But typically, they burn on the edges and stay soggy in the middle.
This cannot be! Everyone deserves a perfect kale chip, so here are my tips for getting them just right every time.
1. Start with the right kale
For the sake of making chips, I’ve found the best to be green curly kale with strong, sturdy leaves. Of course, organic and locally grown is fantastic and always preferable because kale makes the EWG’s 2012 dirty dozen list.)
2. After rinsing leaves, dry very well
This could mean using a salad spinner or drying with paper towels. You don’t want any water on those suckers when they go in the oven.
3. Use minimal wet ingredients
I know, I know, my sesame kale chips and chili-lime kale chips call for ingredients like umeboshi plum vinegar and lime juice. Those recipes work out fine but if you are having trouble getting crisp chips, stick with just oil and dry seasonings.
4. Evenly distribute oil
Mixing the leaves with oil in a bowl works, but what works even better is to you use your fingers to briefly massage each leaf. A nice even coating of oil is ideal.
5. Position in the middle
You’ll want your oven racks in the middle 2 slots.
6. Flip flop at the halfway mark
This is very important! Halfway through cooking, remove cookie sheets from the oven. Use your fingers to flip over each leaf and rearrange them so the outer leaves go to the middle and vice versa. Also swap the top and bottom sheets to the opposite rack and rotate each sheet 180 degrees. This compensates for uneven heating within the oven.
7. Watch carefully
They can burn easily, so you don’t want to walk away and get involved in Facebook during the last few minutes of your kale chip baking. They are ready when they feel crisp to the touch and start to brown.
8. Share with a picky eater
Oh boy. Nothing is more gratifying than getting someone to happily eat their greens. It’s so worth the effort!
Ok, ok. Gimme the recipe already!
Basic Kale Chips
If you follow all the tips above and still don’t get crisp chips, play with temperature and cooking time. Ovens vary. And, well…some ovens just suck.
1 head green curly kale
2 Tbl. olive oil
generous salt & pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 350F. Tear leaves from stem and into chip-sized pieces. Rinse, dry. As described above, mix and coat well with oil. Toss with salt & pepper. Spread evenly onto 2 cookie sheets, adding more salt & pepper if you like. (It’s ok if they are crowded on the sheets, they’ll shrink.) Place on two center oven racks and bake for 7-8 minutes.
Flip flop at the halfway mark as described above. Bake another 7-8 minutes or until perfectly crisp.
How do you get your kale chips to come out perfectly? Let’s hear it.