Although I highly recommend visiting Italy whenever possible, one need not go to Tuscany to enjoy the healthful benefits inherent in eating Tuscan kale. It is in season now, at least here in Portland it is, and I can’t get enough! Kale is packed with cholesterol-lowering benefits, especially when it is steamed. You see, the fiber-related components in kale do a much better job of binding together with bile acids in your digestive tract when they’ve been steamed. However, I’m going to talk about baking it today.
Kale chips can be expensive. The most reasonably-priced ones that I’ve found come from Trader Joe’s. However, these chips are very delicate and break into crumbles a little too easily. They are flavorful, with some kind of cheesy, spicy powder all over them, which makes them messy to eat, in addition to being crumbly…but they do taste good.
As with most foods, I prefer to make my own. They taste so much better when they are warm, straight out of the oven. I have experimented with different methods of cooking them and have finally arrived at the one that I think is most successful. The secret ingredient? Truffle oil! Truffle oil is popular with chefs because it not only tastes great, it is also much less expensive than actual truffles, while possessing some of the same flavors and deep, earthy aroma. The emergence and growth of truffle oil has led to an increase in the availability of foods that are flavored with truffles, in an era when the price of truffles has pushed them out of reach for most folks. Real truffle oil (which contains actual truffle, and more truffle than oil instead of the other way around) can go for $90 an ounce. The stuff that I buy is ridiculously expensive, but….
I have just discovered a very inexpensive truffle oil at Trader Joe’s that works almost as well as this fancy brand that I keep on hand. In fact, I’m planning to switch. Why pay more when you don’t have to? The Trader Joe’s stuff is delicious! The flavor is milder and less cloying, but that is good, because the fancy stuff costs so much…and it goes off if I don’t use it up fairly quickly.
Making these chips is ridiculously simple. All one needs do is tear the kale into 3-4″ pieces and toss them gently with less than 1 TBS. of truffle oil. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt…The Meadow, one of my favorite gourmet food shops here in Portland has some delicious truffle sea salt that you can order online. Simply click the link and visit their great website.
Lay the oiled, lightly salted kale pieces out on a foil-lined cookie sheet and bake at 400 degrees until they are dry and crispy.
Enjoy your delicious kale chips crisp and warm, straight out of the oven. That’s when they taste best.
Ridiculously simple to make, and such a healthful snack!