And it is.
There are the Italian classics: Caprese salads dripping with olive oil from Tuscany; plump ravioli filled with dark green spinach and the whitest, creamiest ricotta cheese; bubbling hot pizzas and golden fried artichokes...
So we almost always forget about all the things that Italy actually doesn't have: first of all, Italian salad dressing (ha), and actually any kind of salad dressing, for that matter, other than olive oil and vinegar. Cumin. Cilantro. Cheddar cheese. Chocolate chips. (I don't know why they don't like C foods). And my personal favorite, kale.
Okay, not exactly true. Of course Italy has kale and it's called cavolo nero. Apparently it grows abundantly in Tuscany and never gets shipped to Cortina. Last October I spotted it in a grocery store an hour away from Cortina, in Brunico, but unfortunately I do not normally make hour trips just to buy kale.
I tend to just wait until we get back to Colorado in April and then I eat it every day. This summer baking it in the oven was my favorite preparation, so much so that one week, I did it five days in a row. The result is a crispy kale leaf, almost like a potato chip, which is perfect for a snack, cocktail hour, dinner time, and basically any time.
I will be making these almost every day until we leave for Cortina. Lucky for my husband (who oddly seems to be less enchanted with kale chips), that's only 16 days away.
Crispy Kale Chips
1 small bunch of kale
Olive oil for drizzling
Sea salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes to taste
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Wash the kale. Remove the kale leaves from the stem and cut into bite size pieces (not too small because it shrinks while it cooks). Place the kale on a baking sheet and drizzle with 1 or 2 tablespoons of olive oil (it doesn't need to be drenched). Sprinkle on the sea salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes (if spice is desired) and toss together to mix and coat. Bake for no more than 10 minutes. **It's so important to keep an eye on them after the 7 minute mark because the leaves can burn so easily! You'll know they're done when they are dark green, not brown, with a crisp to them.** Serve immediately.