I don’t get kale chips
I’ve been hearing a lot about kale chips lately; they were in Bon Appétit, on Serious Eats, heck, my mom even called me to sing their praises. The technique is simple enough: toss stemmed kale leaves with oil, vinegar, salt and pepper and bake in a single layer at 350° for a half hour, until the leaves are crispy, like chips. I am a big fan of roasting vegetables in general and kale has been readily available at the farmers’ market, so this seemed like a great idea.
Having finally made kale chips, I can say they are most definitely not a great idea. While they are crispy, the leaves are so thin that they don’t crunch in your mouth but instead turn powdery. The initial flavor of the chips is the earthy richness of greens, but the aftertaste is bitter (apparently bitterness is a sign of overcooking, but my kale was not browned). The combination of this bitterness with the powdery texture made any pleasure I might have had at putting the kale into my mouth quickly turn to regret. Contrast this to potato chips, where the end of a mouthful leaves me wanting more delicious potato chips. I have seen kale chips described as “guiltless potato chips”; I can see how that might be true since if you eat one you probably won’t want to eat another. I certainly didn’t.