Hot food trend: Kale chips

What are they?
They're crisp, green, salty, taste freakily like salted potato crisps - and they're made from kale, a member of the cabbage family renowned for its high nutrients and celebrity status.
''It's the age of kale,'' announced actor Kevin Bacon. Gwyneth and Oprah are, of course, fans. ''Even made kale chips,'' Bette Midler said. What began as a dehydrated snack for raw foodists in, or around, 2006, kicked off when US farm-to-table chef Dan Barber published an oven-baked kale chip recipe in 2007 and a cult was born.

Where are they?
Glossy-green kale chips are on the snacky bar menu at many an Australian restaurant so look out for them here.
''We throw a heap of the torn leaves into a pan of beurre noisette [nutty, browned butter] for a minute or two until they're crisp, drain them really well and serve them on pan-fried skate wing, with slippery jacks and pickled periwinkles," says chef Tim Sweeney from Melbourne's Last Jar.

Why do I care?
Because celebrities eat them? No. Because they are powerhouses of nutrients and vitamins? Maybe. Because they're chips? Yes.

Can I do them at home?
Can, and should. You need amazingly little olive oil, so they come almost guilt-free. Add grated parmesan, black pepper or Japanese chilli sprinkles, and serve with a drink, a soup, or an eggy weekend brunch.

If you're a salt-and-vinegar fan, toss the chips when hot, straight out of the oven, with one teaspoon vinegar and sea salt - they're amazing.

*200g curly kale 
*1 tbsp olive oil
*½ tsp sea salt

1. Heat the oven to 140C. Wash the kale and pat dry.

2. Strip the leaves off the stems, and tear into rough bite-sized pieces. Arrange in a single layer, not too crowded, on two baking trays lined with baking paper (you may need to do two batches).

3. Drizzle with the olive oil and massage the oil into the leaves until coated.

4. Scatter with sea salt, then bake until crisp but not browned (keep checking after 10 minutes, it could take up to 15) and serve.

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