December 1, 2008

Tuscan Seasons- Winter- Kale

One of the first flavors my husband wants, after the new oil and possible with the new oil
is the Tuscan kale, cavolo nero.

Winter brings us fabulous greens, from spinach, chard and kale. My favorite season for salads. The choice is amazing.

But most of all, Tuscans excel at twice cooking greens, making them loved, even by those with bad childhood memories of over-cooked vegetables.

Simple boil the greens in salted water. The kale takes a long time to cook. With the first frosts, the kale tends to get more tender, but until then, really overcook it!
( Save the cooking liquid for a lovely broth)
Drain and squeeze out the excess liquid.

Cover the botton of a saute pan with olive oil ( only extra virgin please!). Add one sliced garlic clove and a little chili pepper flakes for kick.

Add the drained greens, chopped. Saute' to warm,salt to taste.

Our favorite light supper is a kale bruschetta.

Toast a slice of country-style bread lightly.
While still hot, rub with a garlic clove.
( this is known in Florence as fettunta.)

Place the fettunta in a soup bowl, cover with the hot kale and top with some of the hot broth.

The bread will soak up most of the broth softening the toast.

Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.

Enjoy a taste of Tuscany.


  1. Sounds so healthy! Cavolo nero is great in soup, too. Its very cleansing. If the temperature in Rome ever falls below 60 degrees I will actually be motivated to cook up a pot!

  2. Thanks for mentioning that.. Cavolo Nero is one of the basic greens used on the tuscan Minestrone- and Ribollita!

  3. Ah "fettunta." The word alone brings back so many happy memories. Great idea with the kale.

  4. mmm. i love kale. saving the liquid is a great idea. this looks soo good :)

  5. blogger won't let me follow you...

  6. heather.. see you got in! Welcome!!!

    in Tuscany everyone grows kale!
    love it!

    I have borage in my garden, another great green.

  7. Thanks Judy for yet another wonderful reason to raid the potager today. These Kale Tartines look perfect for lunch!

  8. This is exactly what I loved about Italian food. So simple, so delicious! My Dad has tons of greens growing in his garden right now. I'm going to share this idea with him over Christmas...he'll have plenty of kale and chard by then.

  9. I love this stuff! It already has so many names, but after a few years of growing it in the garden (so easy to start from seed) I went from calling it Nero di Toscana Cabbage to Cat Cabbage because it's so hard to kill, I swear it has nine lives. Deer, bugs, heat, cold - nothing can keep me from my tasty harvest! ; )