I couldn't bear to throw away all the tough outer leaves left behind from making roasted Brussels sprouts last week. So what did I do? What any enterprising and frugal home cook would do: I doused them with olive oil and made sprout chips.
I figured if you can transform rugged leaves of kale into a crispy snack, why not Brussels sprout leaves?
I hovered anxiously near the oven while they baked, resisting the urge to check on them too frequently for fear of letting the heat out. First they turned bright Kermit green and started to steam. Then they began to shrivel. And turn a dismal, completely unappetizing shade of brownish-green.
I thought all was lost until I put one in my mouth. It was so crispy that it practically melted on my tongue. It left behind a rich taste of olive oil, a clean saltiness, and a haunting Brussels sprout flavor. Yes, you've got to love Brussels sprouts for this one.
They shrink a lot during cooking. I started out with 3-4 cups of sprout scraps and ended up with about 2 cups of chips. In my mind, this makes them the perfect appetizer for the cook and the cook's helpers as we go about putting the finishing touches on the meal.
Servings vary, the trimmings from 1 1/2 pounds of sprouts makes about 2 cups of chips
Tough outer leaves from preparing a batch of Brussels sprouts
Heat the oven to 400°F.
Discard any stems from your scraps, reserving only the outer leaves. In a bowl, toss the leaves with a drizzle of olive oil, a healthy sprinkle of salt, and a few turns from the pepper grinder. Use your fingers to rub the leaves with oil, making sure all the surfaces are slicked with a little oil.
Spread the leaves in a single layer on a bare baking sheet. Roast for 10-12 minutes until the leaves are crispy and dry.
The chips are best eaten right away, fresh from the oven, but they will stay crispy for an hour or two. They will gradually start to soften and become chewier after cooking.
Related: Five Ways to Eat Kale
(Images: Emma Christensen)