Salisbury, England is an unlikely place to have the best meal of one’s life. Most associate Salisbury with its gorgeous Cathedral and stunning country landscape.
But in Salisbury, at the Jade restaurant, it happened. I had the best meal of my entire life. (Pictures were not allowed, so my description will have to suffice). It was a seven course Cantonese feast, with excellent jasmine tea. Our first course was Satay chicken, mini egg rolls, and fried sea weed. Then the third course: crispy fried duck with pancake and plum sauce. Then came the chili spiced prawns, chicken in vinegar sauce, thinly sliced beef, lobster and more. And it just went on and on. Mr. Radar and I, stuffed to the gills, attempted to decline dessert. The restaurant staff chuckled, and Joe, the owner proclaimed that we were the only Americans he ever met with “small stomachs.” Joe animatedly chatted with me about how he sourced his seafood and how the kitchen staff butchers its own meat and seafood. I was delighted to meet Joe, someone who is clearly passionate about local food and cares deeply about the product and service. Joe and his restaurant delivered.
I am determined to make crispy Peking duck with homemade pancakes for Christmas dinner. But it is the fried seaweed that haunts Mr. Radar’s memories. When we got home, I suggested that I make baked Kale chips, which I think have that sea weed crispness and taste. Mr. Radar argued with me, logically pointing out that Kale was not seaweed. Kale is not seaweed, but with a pinch of sesame seeds, a touch of spice and sea salt, these are a delicious alternative to the Jade’s offering.
Baked Kale Chips with Chili & Sesame
Inspired by SmittenKitchen
1 Bunch Kale (I like Dinosaur or Russian for this the best)
Scant tbspn Olive Oil
1/2 tsp Sesame Oil
1 tsp Sesame Seeds
1/4 tsp Sea Salt (to taste, I like a bit more but feel free to use just a pinch)
1/2 tsp Chili Powder
Preheat oven to 300. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. Wash the Kale thoroughly, and remove the bottom portion of the stalks. Dry very well. I like to use a salad spinner and then paper towels. Cut or tear the kale into 2 inch pieces. Combine the two oils in a gallon size ziploc bag. Add the kale and shake vigorously. Sprinkle in half of the spices and shake some more. Add the rest and shake some more.
Spread the kale in a single layer on the parchment. Try not to overlap, or the kale on the bottom will not cook. Cook for 30 minutes. Check for donenesss after twenty minutes, and remove any chips that are already crispy. Continue to cook for another ten minutes. Pull the chips out of the oven and make sure all chips are crispy. Any pieces that are tender or under done, put back in the oven and back for another 3-5 minutes.
Store in an airtight container for several days. But they won’t last that long.