You see, I am slow to pick up new fads and fashions, just like I am a slow talker, a slow cooker, and a slow eater. In the last decade, as millions jumped on the bandwagon of kale smoothies and kale chips and kale cookies, I resisted. But everywhere I went, that kale bandwagon followed me. I saw kale on countless restaurant menus, blog posts, recipes of the day, and cooking shows, but I had an inexplicable and perhaps irrational aversion to even trying it.
Once we arrived in Germany, I felt I was safe from the kale onslaught. No kale here! Or so I thought…
The other day in the grocery store, I stumbled across big bags of grünkohl. “Hmmm… I wonder what…” I began, and then it hit me. There was no dodging a bandwagon that was gunning for me everywhere I went. I knew it was time to hop on and get these designer greens.
At the checkout counter, the cashier gave a puzzled look at my one-kilo bag of kale. “Was ist das?” he asked, perplexed. I mustered my best German kale connoisseur expression and answered, “Grünkohl.” My confidence and nonchalance surprised even me. And so began my journey with the new superfood.
Back at home, I was already having buyer’s regret. “What on earth am I going to do with all this kale?” I tucked it away in the fridge (as much as a one-kilo bag of kale can be tucked into a fridge already stuffed to the gills with Thanksgiving leftovers!) while I pondered my next step.
Did you know there are approximately 22 million results for a “kale recipe” google search? And, very strong opinions on kale abound. I decided to limit my research to a cursory scroll through some of the roughly 3 million hits for “crispy kale.” But then, I just decided to go for it and improvise where necessary. Usually this approach of mine yields either very good or very disastrous results.
So here you have it, my very first (and very good, if I say so myself!) kale, oven-crisped in coconut oil and sprinkled with sea salt. I find the texture to be pleasantly crisp like nori (Japanese seaweed paper) and the taste a bit like a mix between broccoli and parsley. I probably won’t be adding kale to my smoothies anytime soon, but you never know. These crisps are delightful. They’re even toddler approved:
Oh, and this is my first “Snack” recipe on the Seasoned Traveler – yay! I’m dreaming up some more holiday snacks, so stay tuned!
Oven-Crisped Kale with Sea Salt
(Adapted from recipes here, there, and everywhere)
- Kale (1 kilo, or a little over 2 lbs yields about 8 batches, meaning LOTS)
- Coconut oil (you can use another oil, but choose one with a high smoking point, and cooking time/flavor will vary)
- Sea salt
Wash kale in cold water and let it sit in a bowl of very cold water for about 10 minutes. Using your hands, break the kale down into bite-size leaves, discarding the thick ribs running down the center. Shake off the water as you do this. Place the leaves in a salad spinner and spin to release more of the water. Transfer enough kale for a first batch onto a clean towel and pat the leaves completely dry (this step is important, in order to avoid mushy leaves).
Preheat oven to 350 F/180 C and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Once you’ve patted the first batch of leaves dry with the towel, transfer to a large bowl. Scoop out a small amount of coconut oil (it solidifies at below 76 degrees F; I used a little less than 1 Tbs. per batch) and warm it with your hands to liquefy, smooth evenly over kale leaves as you mix them in the bowl. (Oil should be just a light coating.) Spread leaves out in one layer on top of the parchment-lined baking sheet and let bake for 12 minutes — time it carefully! Note: subsequent batches will likely be done more quickly; watch so they don’t burn – my last batch was done in 10 minutes!
Remove from the oven and immediately sprinkle sea salt over them. Transfer to another platter or open container where they can cool while you work on the next batch. Once cooled completely, these can be stored for 1-2 days in an airtight container, but are best still warm from the oven, not to mention so irresistibly crispy they are sure to disappear fast. Enjoy!