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Bake kale for a crisp, delectable snack food

(ran SP ST TP editions)

Who would have thought that roasting no-fat, nutrient-rich kale leaves would result in crunchy green bits as irresistible as salted nuts? Kale crunch, from Mollie Katzen's Vegetable Heaven (Hyperion, 1997), is a crisp, delectable surprise.

To make a supply, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil, then brush or spray it with oil. Wash and shake dry a big bunch of kale. Break off and discard the stems. Cut across the leaves to make wide shreds. Spread them evenly on the baking sheet and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring them once or twice.

When the kale bakes, it becomes bright green and quite crisp. (Cooked a minute or two less, the kale is chewy-crisp; take your pick and adjust the cooking time to taste.) Once the crunch is out of the oven, you can salt it or sprinkle it with grated Parmesan, but, for many, the intriguing green mineral taste is best experienced unadorned.

Kale crunch is best the day it is made but will keep a day or two in a tin at room temperature. Besides snacking, the kale bits can be used in other ways _ sprinkled on pasta, mixed into risotto, showered over salads or blended into scrambled eggs.

Ms. Katzen is author of the original Moosewood Cookbook.