A friend of mine, who is now a children’s librarian in Scotland, turned me on to crispy kale. She loved it so much she sent out a group email to all her foodie friends with the recipe. Kale is a staple of Portuguese cooking, so I already loved this deep-flavored, leafy green thanks to countless childhood meals at my Avo’s table. However, crispy kale opened up a whole new dimension to love about kale. This tasty dish makes an easy and nutritious side with dinner, but my favorite way to eat it is to fill a big bowl and eat it like popcorn, with a beer in hand, while watching a movie. I’ve lost track of the original recipe, but crispy kale is so easy to make, you’ll never need a recipe again after the first time you prepare it. Here’s how I do it.
1 bunch kale
salt or seasoning mix (I like to use The Spice House‘s Ukrainian Village Blend)
Preheat oven to 425 F. Line two baking sheets with aluminum foil (for easy clean-up). Wash the kale and dry thoroughly. If the kale is still wet when it goes into the oven, it will steam instead of roasting, and fail to crisp up. Tear roughly into bite-sized pieces, and place in a large bowl. Cup one hand and fill the well in your palm with olive oil. (Do this over the bowl, in case any oil spills through your fingers.) Rub your palms together to distribute the oil, and then gently pick up the kale and toss it with your hands, rubbing the leaves lightly, until it is just barely coated with oil. Sprinkle the kale with salt or seasoning mix to taste. If your seasoning mix is salt-free, you will also want to add some salt. Salt draws moisture out of the leaves and allows them to crisp up better. Lay out the kale in a single layer on the baking sheets — note that the single layer is also important for proper crisping.
Roast in the oven for 5-10 minutes, watching closely to prevent burning. After about 5 minutes, poke the kale with some tongs to see if it’s getting crispy. Remove the kale from the oven when it feels crispy but is still bright green.