One of the coolest jobs I’ve ever had was working as a barista at Farley’s, the renowned coffee shop here on Potrero Hill. Known for its surly servers and devil-may-care customer service, we spent much of our time, between making espresso drinks and restocking, smack-talking customers we disliked.
After I served a young man his coffee one day, my awesomely hilarious Japanese co-worker, Tomo, complained that said customer was always hitting on her. Furthermore, she said, he also used to hit on the Asian barista who had worked there before her. ‘He has Asian favor,’ she confided. I thought, ‘Asian favor. Yeah, I guess that makes sense.’ Seeing my ponderous expression, Tomo put the back of her hand to her forehead and clarified, ‘You know, like, I am sick. I have favor.’
You will have asian favor too when you taste this crispy kale tossed with toasted sesame oil, lemon juice and nori strips. After many years of sodden, sauteed greens, I tried this riff on a recipe from Elana’s Pantry several months ago and have never looked back. If cruciferous greens seem like a punishment that you ought to endure because they’re good for you, give this recipe a whirl, and it will change your mind. It’s easier than making popcorn, but satisfying in the same crispy, crunchy way. We like to plunk the baking sheet down on the table and nibble the kale right off it with our fingers for a pre-dinner or late-night snack.
If you don’t suffer from Asian favor, feel free to make this with plain old olive oil, salt and lemon juice, or try any other favors, er, flavors you like.
Crispy Sesame Kale Chips
Adapted from Elana’s Pantry
If you have the time, bake these at a lower temperature for a longer time; they will stay greener and more crisp. Let a leaf cool for a few minutes on the counter to test it for crispiness.
1 bunch kale (curly works well, but any kale will do), stems removed, torn into 3″ pieces
juice of 1/2 lemon (2 tablespoons)
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoons tamari, soy sauce, or Bragg’s amino acids
1 tablespoon sesame seeds (black, brown, white, or a combination)
2 sheets toasted nori, cut into 1/2×2″strips (scissors work well for this)
Preheat the oven to 350º.
Place the kale in a large bowl and add the lemon juice, oil, tamari and sesame seeds. Toss with your hands to coat evenly. Spread the kale on a baking sheet, and sprinkle the nori strips over. Bake for 10 – 15 minutes, until beginning to brown and crisp up on the edges. (My kale never gets crisped all the way through, but it is still delicious.) Eat immediately.