Monday, August 8, 2011

Tuscan Kale Chips with Lemon & Sea Salt

Kale is a primitive form of cabbage and seems to be native to the eastern Mediterranean. Varieties similar to the Lacinato shown were prized for their delicate flavor by both the Ancient Greeks and Romans, who brought them west to France and Britain.

The field-grown baby Lacinato or Tuscan kale is a treat right now. Young, sweet, and hardly a woody stem in sight. It's at its best both in mid-summer and in the early winter, when the frost has had a chance to up the sugar content in more mature and strongly flavored plants.

While the kale is still so small and tender though, I toss it with fruity olive oil and bake it whole just until crisp, giving it a quick shower of lemon juice and sea salt as it comes out of the oven. The long, slender leaves are far more elegant than normal kale chips, but every bit as addictive - particularly with an apéritif at that time, very early in the evening, when something revitalizing with salt and crunch and twang is called for.

Young Lacinato or Tuscan kale leaves, any thick stems and veins trimmed (or any other kale leaves, trimmed of stems and veins and torn into manageable pieces)
olive oil
fresh lemon juice
finely ground sea salt or kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 300 F (150 C, gas mark 2)

Rinse and pat dry the kale leaves, making sure that any thicker stems or veins have been trimmed. In a large bowl, toss the leaves with a drizzle of olive oil until evenly coated. Line baking sheets with parchment paper and, working in batches, arrange the leaves in a single layer, being sure not to have any overlap. Bake until dry and crisp - start checking at 20 minutes. Shower with lemon juice and sprinkle with salt before cooling slightly. Arrange standing upright in glasses as shown if desired and serve immediately.


David @ Provence Imports said...

These were a big craze with the bloggers a few years ago, but I never saw anyone do the whole leaves, and I never saw them with lemon. Two great ideas! Thank you!

Sally said...

Great photos again this week. I'm looking forward to trying these out.

Anonymous said...

I agree, these photos are beautiful!

Figs, Bay, Wine said...

David, thank you! The lemon and salt are what make them so addictive for me. Like highbrow, healthy salt and vinegar potato chips.

Sally, thanks! Let me know how you like them.

Anonymous, thank you!

Gloria said...

oh Dear You always with your amazing and lovely dishes, lovely pictures my dear, gloria

Anonymous said...

So healthy and striking, thank you.
James C

Sarah said...

I love kale chips so much (and my husband does, too). I'm wishing it weren't so hot these days, however, as I've been trying to keep the oven off as much as possible. Here's hoping the rain we are getting this week will cool things down enough that I can make up a batch of these.

Figs, Bay, Wine said...

Gloria, thank you!! I love yours too.

James, it's lucky that they're healthy, because I find it impossible to stop once I start.

Sarah, I hear you!! I made cookies yesterday and had to blast, BLAST the ac.

Jenn @leftoverqueen said...

I have been wanting to make kale chips for a long time, and have never gotten there...but these look too god to resist!

Francis said...

These sound great!

Barbara said...

Kale is not something common here but I will try this recipe if I find some. I have seen other bloggers rave about Kale chips.

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