Thu, 27 February, 2020
Crisps made from flavoured cavolo nero, or black kale leaves. A win over potato crisps in all nutritional categories except for taste.
I’ll be honest from the start about kale: I’m not a fan. I have professed loud and clear that I consider it inedible and its popularity is quite incomprehensible to me. So kale crisps? Nah. But as I also often say, don’t diss what you haven’t tried. You can’t form an opinion on hearsay and that’s too true about food especially.
So with heavy heart I set out to test kale crisps and form an opinion. I was hoping to be wrong. I was looking forward to being floored by the texture and complexity of flavour. I was prepared to be wrong about kale in general and about kale crisps in particular.
I’ll get to the point: turns out kale crisps are not my thing. Not my cup of tequila, they don’t float my boat and they rub me the wrong way. I just don’t like kale and that’s that.
But as beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder so the taste is all in the buds. I find kale tough, someone else might think it firm. I call it bitter and you say it’s savoury. Chewy and fibrous to me, it will be chewy and fibrous to others but with a completely different shade of meaning.
So this is for the fans and I reserve the right to dislike it, if I may. Not everything cooks and chefs make is always to their taste so I don’t see a problem. I make excellent brownie but it’s not my sweet of choice. I’ve perfected several chip-making methods though personally will always go for mash. And the fish that comes with those chips usually gets de-battered by me before consumption.
The recipe makes two flavours of crisps: Middle-Eastern with Baharat or Ras-el-Hanout (at a push mix equal parts of smoked paprika ground coriander and cinnamon), and chilli-garlic. As an independent judge - considering how I feel about kale – I’d pick the garlic chilli over Baharat but as tastes are not to be disputed, I give you both.
kale crispsServings: makes 2 small bowlsTime: 50 minutes
- 400g cavolo nero, stems discarded
- 30g olive oil
- ½ tsp Baharat
- a pinch of coarse salt
- ½ tsp garlic granules
- ½ tsp chilli flakes
- a pinch of coarse salt
1. Wash the cavolo nero and spin dry in a salad spinner. Tear or cut into pieces about 5 x 5cm, or larger if you wish. Spread them on a tray lined with paper towels to dry completely.
2. Prepare two medium bowls and divide the olive oil between them. Split the dry kale pieces between the bowls. Preheat the oven to minimum: 80C if possible, 100-120C maximum. Prepare two baking trays lined with parchment.
3. Prepare the spice mixes: for the oriental flavour, pound the Baharat (or ras-el-hanout) spice with the salt in a pestle and mortar. Transfer to one portion of kale, then pound the garlic, chilli and salt again and add it to the other bowl.
4. Using your hands massage the oil and seasoning into the kale leaves thoroughly to coat every piece. Spread them over the parchment in a single layer and slide into the oven.
5. Bake for 40 minutes to 1 hour, depending on the oven temperature. Rotate the trays, toss the crisps gently on each tray to turn them over and return to the oven for another 40 – 60 minutes. When all the pieces are crisp but not burnt, remove from the oven and cool on the parchment.
6. Keep in a bowl to keep them dry; they will last a few days.