A peasant green gets chippy

| 09 Mar 2012 | 11:23

Lori Marrie, Warwick Folks that regularly snub leafy bunches of kale and label them peasant greens are forking over $7.49 for 3.5 ounce tubs of kale chips. Included: half an ounce of crumbs.

Kale, the vegetable routinely mistaken for collards, mustard greens or chard, has finally shed its identity crisis, proudly arriving in gourmet markets, albeit in flavors like mesquite, zesty nacho and Bombay curry. And why not? Kale chips are light, crunchy, and a healthy alternative to the potato variety. Even non-veggie eaters devour handfuls, finding their taste baffling yet strangely addictive.

This verdant, nourishing vegetable has powerful antioxidant properties and is high in calcium, protein, Vitamins K, A, C and beta carotene. An added benefit: kale is available at local farms throughout the year and turns sweeter after the first frost.

Feeling inspired? Experiment with varieties like curly, dinosaur and red Russian to create your own kale chips. Add any combination of flavors, and remember to use a coarse grain salt. Spice it up with a sprinkling of chili powder, or add a spoonful of nutritional yeast for a cheesy zing. Take the time to completely dry the kale, otherwise it will steam and remain soggy. While many entrepreneurs use commercial dehydrators to dry the kale at low temperatures, you can simply roast bite size pieces on baking sheets in a 325 degree oven. Be careful – they turn from crisp to char in seconds. Carefully transfer to a bowl and watch them disappear before they even have a chance to crumble.

Roasted Kale Chips Ingredients:

1 bunch kale 1 Tbs. olive oil

1 tsp. sea salt or kosher salt

optional seasonings Method: Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Wash and thoroughly dry the kale. Remove the leaves from the thick stems and tear into bite-size pieces. Place them in a bowl, drizzle with olive oil, evenly coating the leaves. Place kale in a single layer on the cookie sheets. Sprinkle with salt and other seasonings, if using. Bake 10 – 15 minutes, checking often so they don’t burn.