I must confess that I am appalled at the proliferation of mass-produced kale chips. Don't get me wrong, I've eaten more than my fair share of the snack, but there's no reason to pay upwards of $6 for a small bag I'd finish in 5 minutes. In Salty Snacks, Cynthia Nims offers an easy intro to making kale chips, no dehydrator necessary.
She tops the kale chips with a bit of olive oil and a lively mixture of lemon zest, grated fresh ginger, and (of course) plenty of salt. The salt blend clumps a bit (especially with rasp-grated ginger) but it'll distribute evenly with a gentle kale massage.
Why I picked this recipe: Yes, I've made kale chips before, but never with much in the way of flavoring; the bright and spicy lemon-ginger combination seemed perfectly suited to earthy kale.
What worked: These are kale chips with character, and they're done in less time than it takes to run out and buy a 6 dollar bag.
What didn't: I found it hard to distribute the small amount of lemon-ginger mixture over the leaves, so I doubled up on zest and ginger to make things easier for myself. I also ended up rubbing the salt mixture into the kale with my hands to that it wouldn't clump.
Suggested tweaks: Nims suggested ground coriander as an alternative to ginger, and I think that'd not only taste great, but would also make the salt mixture easier to distribute. Next time I'd also try using the fine holes on my box grater instead of my rasp grater (the rasp tends to juice instead of grate the ginger).
Reprinted with permission from Salty Snacks by Cynthia Nims. Copyright 2012. Published by Ten Speed Press. Available wherever books are sold. All rights reserved.
- 1 bunch (about 7 ounces) kale, rinsed and well dried
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more if needed
- 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt or flaky or coarse sea salt
Preheat the oven to 300°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Set 2 oven racks at the centermost positions.
Trim the tough stems from the kale leaves. Cut larger leaves crosswise into 3- to 4-inch portions; smaller leaves can be baked as is. Put the kale in a large bowl, drizzle 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over the leaves, and toss well with your hands to evenly coat the leaves with oil. The curlier the leaves, the more you’ll want to use your fingers to rub a bit of oil into the nooks and crannies. Just a light gloss of oil is the goal; drizzle another teaspoon or two over if needed, but avoid excessive oil. Arrange the kale pieces on the prepared baking sheets, the leaves touching each other as little as possible.
Combine the lemon zest, ginger, and salt in a small bowl and use your fingers to rub the ingredients together well. (Be sure to do this at the last minute.) Sprinkle the salt mixture over the kale leaves.
Bake for 10 minutes. Switch the baking sheets and continue baking until the leaves are dry and rigid but not browned, 10 to 12 minutes longer. If some leaves at the outer edges of the baking sheets are ready earlier, transfer them to a wire rack and continue baking the remaining leaves for a few minutes.
Use a metal spatula to transfer the leaves to a wire rack to cool. Serve on a platter or in a broad shallow bowl. The kale chips are best on the day they are made but can be stored for up to 1 day in an airtight container.