Tuesday, December 04, 2007
CRISPY ROASTED KALE
Roasted kale in foreground (man, I love the “macro” setting on my camera—you can see the individual grains of salt!), spicy roast chicken and tomatoes in background.
When we were studying abroad in England 10 years (ack!) ago, A and I discovered a new favorite appetizer at Chinese restaurants. Described simply as “crispy seaweed” on the menu, it was a huge pile of shredded green leaves, warm, salty, and, magically, crunchy (it was probably fried). The texture was brittle and paper-thin, melting in your mouth almost immediately. Like edamame, they were an incredibly addictive snack. I don’t know what possessed us to first order this dish—or maybe it arrived free on the table before our meal, like a bread basket?—but we were instantly hooked, ordering it every time we visited London’s Chinatown. It was on the menu of every restaurant we went to there, but we’ve never seen it again since returning to the U.S. We were starting to feel like maybe we just dreamed it, and then we had roasted kale.
Make this. It’s barely even a recipe at all. It doesn’t matter whether you like kale or not (we’re not sure whether we do yet). It’s one of the easiest, most amazing transformations you can achieve with just three ingredients and an oven. I found it floating around on the Internet when I was desperate for recipes to use up my CSA kale, and now I’m actually considering buying more kale at the farmers’ market just so we can have this again. After we cleaned our plates, A, who is eternally suspicious of leafy greens, even said wistfully, “I wish we had more kale.” Now that’s a testimonial.
Some recipes note that any firm, leafy green works fine in this recipe, so I might try substituting collards or Swiss chard if any of them cross my path.
1 bunch of kale
coarse sea salt
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Wash the kale and trim it by stripping each half of the leaves away from the tough center stems.
3. Place leaves on a baking sheet and toss with olive oil to coat (I used about a tablespoon).
4. Spread leaves in a single layer and roast for 5 minutes. Turn the leaves over and roast another 5-10 minutes until kale begins to brown and is thin and brittle. Remove from oven and sprinkle generously with sea salt.