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May 6, 2009 09:33 AM

Jacques Pepin's crispy kale

A few of us were intrigued by this side dish / snack JP did on a recent tv show. I made it last night and must say it's a great way of mixing up your basic kale recipes.

Take a big bowl of kale greens, removed from the stems, broken up into smallish pieces (I bought a bag of kale already prepped at the store). Toss with a TBSP of oil and a good sprinkle of salt. Crisp up on a baking rack set over a sheet pan at 250 degrees for about 25 minutes. Toss about halfway through. The kale will darken in color and diminish in volume dramatically.

Result is a crispy crunchy snack that makes it easy to get your kale. I bet kids would love it too, since it doesn't really seem like a veggie once it's all crispy and salty.

If you're trying to eat more kale (and you should!) this one is worth a whirl.

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  1. The NYTimes' Pete Wells has a well written and hilarious account of cooking with his young son, Dexter. Back in February he happened across a similar technique. Here's the article, if you don't read it for the recipe, read it for the giggle factor. Enjoy!

    1. Do you think it would work with regular (not baby) spinach, too? I had some crispy spinach at a restaurant that was to die for, and want to recreate, and I *really* don't want to fry it!

      2 Replies
      1. re: Niki in Dayton

        You can always try a few leaves and tell us!

        If it doesn't work, let us know. I'll send you a check for $0.005 cents to reimburse you for the lost 3 leaves of spinach. ;-)

        1. re: SQHD

          I'll let you know how it works out....and no reimbursement necessary ;-) I'm also trying the kale, which we both love anyway; always looking for new preps!

      2. "Kale crack" has been floating around the web for a little while now, with slight variations. Melanie Wong served it at a party this weekend and everyone was amazed at how fun and delicious it is, especially for something that easy.

        4 Replies
        1. re: Ruth Lafler

          I wish I had noticed references to Kale Crack. It is!

          1. re: Ruth Lafler

            Thanks for the shout out. I've tried it with different kinds of kale, and the overwhelming favorite among those who've tasted the kale chips is the lacinato kale, and luckily that happens to be the easiest to work with as well. Russian kale does make pretty, frilly pieces, but the lacinato is denser and cooks to a glossy green-black color.

            To add to yumyum's instructions, it's very important to get the kale DRY. You'll get a more even dehydration that way. You can do this laboriously with a couple kitchen towels, or wash the kale the night before, and leave it on the counter to dry overnight.

            Take some time to coat the leaves thoroughly with the oil. I'm now using less than a tablespoon per bunch, but do work it in well, for better flavor, strength and appearance.

            We've also tried different salts. Fleur de sel, fine sea salt, Hawaiian red salt . . . and so far, i think Maldon salt has the nicest effect.

            1. re: Melanie Wong

              I tried making this tonight with red kale and it IS crack! was wondering how lacinato kale would be, thanks for mentioning it, that's what I plan to try next!

              1. re: poptart

                The fun part about using lacinato (aka dino kale or black kale) is that you get such big chips. I tear them into two or three pieces. At a reception at one friend's house, the leaves were left whole and she arranged them vertically in a vase, like you'd present tall bread sticks, and the effect was quite dramatic.

          2. I saw this show and have to admit, I am willing to try kale another time to see if this is the cooking method that finally wins me over.

            1. Ooo! Just got kale in my CSA box! I'm trying it!

              Probably the last of the kale, but the first of the favas!