I'm in the middle of a wicked love affair with kale. It's an obsession that is destined to fizzle. For now, though, it continues at full throttle. I buy a batch of kale every week at the farmer's market, and I'm constantly thinking of different ways to prepare it. Recently, I made kale and farro and kale with chorizo. This week, lacking the energy to stand over my stove and actually cook a meal, I decided to try the much talked-about kale chips. "They are just like potato chips," said my friend at work. "A delicious alternative to potato chips!" wrote another kale advocate.
Just like potato chips? Um, potato chips are my favorite food. Hand me a bag of UTZ BBQ and I'm forever your girl. The problem is that potato chips are fattening, and should be eaten in moderation (when one can help it). Kale chips, on the other hand, sound like an infomercial for health and wellness. In my mind, you can sit on your couch and eat kale chips until the next season of Mad Men airs.
The problem with infomercials is that they never deliver on their promises.
I tried this recipe, by Dan Barber featured in Bon Appetit. Instead of leaving the kale leaves long, I cut them into the size of potato chips, mostly because I wanted to emulate the experience of eating potato chips.
I don't know what went wrong. Perhaps I burned them. They tasted ok. Each bite was salty and crunchy, but the texture of the "chip" was too thin to be reminiscent of a potato chip; instead the texture was similar to sugar glass candy (but salty), and they were certainly less filling than potato chips. Plus, I put a fair amount of olive oil and salt on the chips, so I'm not sure how healthy they were.
I should have managed my expectations a little better. Baked kale chips? Sounds terrible. Then when I took a bite and found that they were not that bad (but certainly not potato chips) I would have been pleasantly surprised.
So where does that leave my love affair with kale? I'm still conquering kale, but I won't make kale chips again. Instead I'll sneak in some real chips every once in while.