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Cavolo nero con le fette – Bruschetta with kale

Cavolo Nero, or black leaf kale, is a leafy cabbage that doesn’t form heads, but rather resembles palm fronds, with deep greenish black leaves that can be up to a meter long, have pronounced ribs, and whose surfaces have a distinctive bubbly appearance.

It is usually associated with Tuscany, where it appears in classic dishes such as ribollita, zuppa frantoiana, and this dish, cavolo nero con le fette.

A slice in Italian is una fetta, and when you put olive oil on it, you get an “oiled slice” which in Italian translates as fett’unta.  This is the Tuscan word for bruschetta.

Another essential ingredient for this dish is extra vergin olive oil, which has to be of the new season, recently pressed and with a bite to it.  Not by chance are cavolo nero and the new-season olive oil at its peak at the same time (starting from November).


  • 1 bunch of cavolo nero, washed and cut up in pieces
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
  • 4 slices bread of the best quality available
  • olive oil
  • pepper and salt
In a large pot, bring abundant salted water to the boil.  Add the kale, and boil until soft (this can take up to one hour). Strain, but keep the cooking water.
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a pan, and fry the onion for 5 minutes. Add the kale and 2 tablespoons of the cooking water. Add some pepper and salt and cook for a few minutes. If necessary add some extra cooking water.
In the mean time roast the bread slices, rub them with the halved garlic cloves. Spread the kale mixture over the bread slices, drizzle some olive oil over it and extra pepper.
You could add some pancetta to the dish, either cubed and fried with the onion, or slices which have been crisped in a pan or an oven, and put them on top of the kale.
Wine: serve this with a lovely Chianti Classico, such as a Lamole di Lamole, or Castello di Ama.

Posted in Cucinone in English, Recipes.

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