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08 January 2013

Crostini di Cavolo Nero (Tuscan Cabbage or Kale Crostini)



It's becoming a family habit to go to the farmer's market on most weekends.  The quality of all the food we had been buying there are genuinely good, biological and produced around the area.  Exactly the qualities we are looking for.  The whole market has a strong amicable spirit and everyone seems to make time to speak with the buyers.  I always walk out of that market one notch smarter than when I walked in.  

The last time we were there, my kids were treated with white pizza, salame, cheese, biscuits and fruit while we were going around shopping.  Every vendor had something to give and they had these determined looks that they will be stuffing the kids with good food.  I think if they can drink wine, they would be given a glass each too. 


The first time we were there, we spoke with a representative of the Comune di Roma (Municipality of Rome) and we found out that all the stalls in the market are rent-free,  It is a project of the Comune to help farmers sell directly to the consumers and to promote Chilometro Zero (Kilometer Zero) produce.  Chilometro Zero products are the fresh produce coming from the farmers of the area, without traveling for kilometers to put down the travel costs and to keep the freshness of the food.  For this reason, I patronize the fruits and vegetables of the season grown in the area unless I need something out of season.  


Cavolo nero (click on it to learn more) is one of the reasons why I had been frequenting the market lately.  The farmer from whom I buy most of my vegetables and all my tomatoes has a little production of it in his farm.  It's a wonderful and healthy vegetable and my husband and I are crazy about it but it is just difficult to find.  

Aside from putting them in soups, I love sautéing them with anchovies, chili & garlic then use them as toppings to toasted bread.  Its simplicity is astounding but the flavors that meet your palate will astound you more.  The last time I served this to friends, I had to take out the container of the remaining cavolo nero after we finished all the crostini.  We dished out every last bit and I swear we could have licked our spoons if we could have.


 

Crostini di Cavolo Nero (Tuscan Cabbage or Kale Crostini)

Ingredients:
Serves 4
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 chili, seeded and chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, (1 minced & 1 halved for rubbing on the bread)
  • 6 fillets anchovies
  • 250 g. chopped cavolo nero (Tuscan cabbage or kale)
  • 1 cup water
  • slices of bread
Directions:
  1. Over medium heat, in a saucepan, sauté the garlic, chili (if using) & anchovies, about 3 minutes.
  2. Add the cavolo nero when the anchovies melt.  Cook for 10 minutes.
  3. Add the water.  Cook another 20 minutes or until water evaporates.  
  4. Season with salt (if still needed because anchovies are already salty) and pepper.  
  5. Toast the bread in a bread toaster, oven or on a griddle.
  6. Rub the halved garlic on the warm bread.  Skip this if you don't like garlic.  
  7. Drizzle extra virgin olive oil on the bread.  
  8. Put the cavolo nero on the bread.  Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil on top.
  9. Serve immediately while warm.