I wish I could say that I’ve always eaten kale, but I haven’t. For most of my life I had never even heard of it. Then all of a sudden kale was everywhere. I spied it at the market, in magazines and online, it was in salads and soups, sautéed and even made into chips. Kale was demanding to be noticed. There wasn’t much I could do except to try this bitter, leafy green myself.
With its long, thick, ungainly looking leaves, it’s an intimidating vegetable at first glance. From what I’ve gathered people either love it or they fear it. A member of the cabbage family, kale is highly nutritious leafy green. It’s a rich source of phytonutrients, calcium and vitamins A, C and K, which makes it an extraordinarily nourishing food to put in your body. In its raw state, it has an intense flavor; slightly bitter and cabbage-like. Some like it raw, but I tend to prefer the milder flavor of cooked kale, especially when baked.
When roasted briefly in a hot oven, the once rough and hearty kale leaves crisp up into thin chip-like sheets. As it roasts, the flavor gets fuller and the sharp bitterness, tamed by the heat, transforms into an earthy sweetness. If you haven’t made kale chips yet, do so. But this post isn’t about me making kale chips … it’s about what happened after.
As I was staring at the empty bowl, wishing I had made more, I noticed all the leftover little green shards of crispy kale. Light and airy, the fragile roasted kale leaves had crumbled quickly even with the most delicate handling. It was then that I tipped the bowl over my salad in a moment of inspiration, and the result was as flavorful and as equally addicting as the chips.
Into the oven went the next batch of kale as I contemplated what other good uses I would put my new found discovery to. Once out of the oven and cooled I took the entire batch of kale chips for a spin in the food processor; the result was a fine emerald green powder with a savory depth of flavor that I could sprinkle with abandon on anything I chose. And so I did — I mixed my kale powder into vinaigrettes, salads, soups, pastas, rice, lentils, even popcorn.
I’m now happily getting my daily dose of kale, are you?
- 1 large bunch of Lacinato Kale (otherwise known as Dinosaur or Tuscan kale)
- Olive oil
- Fine sea salt
- Preheat the oven to 350 F / 175 C
- Wash kale leaves thoroughly to remove any sand or dirt.
- Spin dry in a salad spinner until dry. Remove any excess moisture with a towel. (It’s important to remove all the moisture to prevent the leaves from burning in the oven)
- Using your hands, tear away the inner ribs and discard.
- Massage a small amount of olive oil into the kale until all the leaves are well coated but not dripping.
- Arrange the kale in a single layer on a prepared sheet pan so they aren’t crowded when they cook. Sprinkle with a pinch of fine sea salt.
- Bake for approximately 10 minutes or until dry and crisp.
- Remove from oven and let cool completely.
- Place leaves in the bowl of a food processor and process for 1 or 2 minutes, until a very fine powdery consistency is reached.
- Sprinkle liberally!
- Store any leftovers in an airtight glass container.
Please consider these suggestions as a rough guide; they are just a few suggestions of possible uses for kale powder. Sprinkle over: salads, pasta, rice, grains, cooked vegetables. Mix into mashed potatoes, vegetable purees and soups. Combine with melted butter over popcorn.
Preparation time: 10 minute(s)
Cooking time: 10 minute(s)
© 2010-2011 gourmande in the kitchen.