Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Seasoned Swiss Chard Chips

Kale chips are so hot right now.  I can't find kale anywhere in Sydney, and I've been eyeing the leafy greens looking for a replacement.  I finally realized that the cruciferous stuff in my local grocery store labeled 'silverbeet' is what we in the US (or UK) would call swiss chard-- very similar to kale.  So I carried some of the stuff home (sold with the long stems intact, so it's like walking along the street with a full-sized plant), and tried out some 'chard chips' on the hubs and some houseguests.  We all thought they were the perfect snack after an afternoon down by the ocean: crunchy, salty, well-seasoned, and not guilty-tasting!  Just what you want after seeing a beach full of trim and tan Aussies.  (This post has been in draft form for a while... when I first wrote it the weather was warm enough to spend the day sunning on the beach!)
Southern Spoon Blog: seasoned swiss chard/ kale chips
swiss chard chips seasoned with cumin, chili, and smoked paprika

I adapted these from a Smitten Kitchen recipe for kale chips.  Feel free to use kale or swiss chard, whatever you can find and whatever is in season where you are.  Experiment with your own spice combinations.  We preferred the cumin and chili seasoned batch to the balsamic-rosemary seasoned one, and next time I want to try a cajun batch.  These don't keep for very long, and are a bit hard to chew after the first day they're made.  So as not to let any go to waste, we just sprinkled the leftover chard chips on top of our pasta dinner the next night.  They would also work well as a pizza topper or stir fry add-in. Try some soon!

Seasoned Swiss Chard Chips
makes about 4 cups of chips

1 big bunch swiss chard (silverbeet), or kale
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
freshly ground salt and pepper to taste

choice of seasonings:
2 teaspoons cumin + 2 teaspoons chili seasoning + 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar + 1 tablespoon dried rosemary + 1 teaspoon dried oregano

Thoroughly wash and dry the swiss chard.  (I submerge it in a big bowl of water, shake it out, lay it out to dry for a while, then blot it with paper towels).  Remove the stems (including the stalk running through the middle of the leaf, otherwise it makes the chips soggy), and chop or tear the leaves into chunky strips.

Swirl the tablespoon of olive oil around in a big bowl.  Add the chopped leaves and mix the leaves around gently to coat them evenly with the oil.  (You may have to split the leaves and oil in half and do one half at a time if you don't have a big enough bowl).  Grind some sea salt and pepper over the leaves, then add your desired seasoning combination. Toss gently to distribute the spices evenly.

Heat oven to 300F/ 150C.  Line a big baking sheet with parchment paper (you will probably need to do two batches to make sure the chips bake evenly).  Spread the chips out evenly in one layer on the prepared baking sheet so that they are not overlapping and barely touching.  Bake for 20 minutes, until the chips are crispy and no moisture remains.  Remove from oven and let cool for a couple of minutes before gently brushing the chips into a bowl to serve.

Serve immediately, or within 4-6 hours of baking.  Swiss chard chips do not keep well longer than one day.  Use any leftovers as an add-in for pasta, pizza, or stir fry.

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