I debated whether or not to bother writing about this food experiment as, IMHO, it was a failure. Not because I did anything wrong, but because it just isn’t a very nice recipe. In the end I included it as much as a warning to unsuspecting leaf eaters out there as anything else. Also I thought maybe I shouldn’t just brag on my successes, I should also humbly admit my failures.
Over 2 years ago, my sister posted about a recipe she discovered for turning the leavings of her broccoli (the leaves) into something really tasty. The recipe was for broccoli chips (we call them crisps in Aus). I kept that recipe in the back of my mind but never did any more than that. Until now.
I have a variety of greens in my garden and I must confess that we don’t eat a whole lot of greens. A few leaves make it into quiches or pastas, but not as many as we grow. And I really don’t want to just compost them (or, more accurately, feed them to my chickens). So I decided to try my sister’s recipe on my greens.
I harvested 1 each of cauliflower, kale, kohlrabi and silverbeet (not a brassica but I thought I’d try it anyway) leaves so I could see which, if any, suited this recipe. Then I made my brassica chips as follows:
1) De-stem and cut the leaves of brassica (or spinach) plants into chunks (about 1 1/2 inch square).
2) Dredge the leaves in olive oil.
3) Spread the leaves on a cookie sheet and sprinkle with salt (be very sparing on the salt – these crisps are thin).
4) Bake at 180 C for 6-8 minutes.
5) Remove from cookie sheet immediately and eat right away (they don’t need to cool – they are that thin).
After tasting my 4 different leaves (and rubbing off as much salt as I could) I can honestly say it doesn’t make a lot of difference which you use. Mysteriously the kohlrabi leaves went dark quickly but that didn’t affect the taste. All are nice but mainly taste of salt. The brassica taste didn’t survive the baking. The leaves are simply too thin to have much of an impact on the tongue. They don’t taste bad, they just don’t taste enough.
For me, this recipe fails the “will I serve it to guests” test. It isn’t flavoursome enough and it’s pretty messy. The crisps are very crumbly and oily (using less olive oil might help, but there will always be some) so it’s kind of an awkward finger food and would be impossible to eat with utensils – they’d shatter even if you used chopsticks.
My opinion is brassica crisps are edible (not hugely tasty but good for a salt craving), probably healthy (unless they are covered in salt), easy to make and probably a greener alternative than throwing good leaves onto the compost. But I’m not convinced they are good enough to deny my chickens one of their favourite treats (they LOVE brassica) in order to make them for myself. I’m sticking to putting my brassica leaves in any recipe that calls for spinach or picking the odd leaf for my chooks.