Was 2014 the year you tried kale chips?
I’m not a big fan of the commercially prepared kale chips, but homemade crisps made from leafy greens aren’t the worst way to work through the bounty of kale (or broccoli, mustard or collard greens) in your garden or CSA.
But why stop at greens? Chris Bryant published a cookbook this year called “Chips: Reinventing a Favorite Food” (Lark Books, $14.95) that covers everything from traditional potato chips to crisps made out of salami, squash, pears or even tofu.
In this recipe, he uses thinly sliced red or purple beets that are baked between two baking sheets to keep them flat and maintain their color. (Yellow or orange beets will brown unattractively, he reports.) Bryant likes to serve these chips with deviled egg dip — deviled eggs that have been mashed together instead of meticulously filled.
Baked Peppery Dill Beets
To get vibrantly colored chips that are uniformly crunchy, sandwich the beet slices between matching baking sheets for the first 20 minutes of cooking. You can skip this step, turning the chips instead midway through baking, and they’ll still be delicious, but the chips will come out a bit darker and not quite as crunchy.
If you don’t have perfectly matched baking sheets, don’t fret — simply improvise with any pair of pans that can be pressed snuggly together. If you can pull together enough pan sets, go ahead and bake two batches of beet chips at a time.
3 to 4 large red beets, about 1 1/2 to 2 lb.
2 Tbsp. oil
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp. dried dill weed, or 2 tsp. fresh dill, finely chopped
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, with the racks positioned in the upper and lower thirds. Line one of the two matching baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. (You can bake more per batch if you have enough pans.)
Prepare the beets by removing the root and stem ends. Cut the beets into even 1/16-inch-thick slices — about as thick as a quarter. A mandoline or food processor will help you make uniform slices.
Transfer the beet slices to a mixing bowl, add the oil, pepper, dill, and salt, and then toss to coat. Arrange the beet slices in a single layer on the baking sheet with their edges just touching. Stack the matching baking sheet on top.
Bake for 20 minutes, then remove the top baking sheet. The edges of the chips should look dry. Return the chips to the oven uncovered, turning the baking sheet in the opposite direction. Bake them for another 10 to 20 minutes, checking for doneness. The beets will curl and become lighter in color.
Note: The beet chips become crisper as they cool. If you like, sprinkle the chips with more salt when they come out of the oven. Then transfer them to a wide bowl or tray to cool. Serves 6 as an appetizer.
— From “Chips: Reinventing a Favorite Food” (Lark Books, $14.95) by Chris Bryant