Crostini di Cavolo Nero

January 17, 2014
3 Ratings
  • Serves 4 as part of an antipasto
Author Notes

These winter crostini of Tuscan kale flavored with lemon and garlic may seem simple, even too simple, but this is what makes crostini so wonderful – for both the cook and the eater. In a way, these particular crostini are just an elaboration on the most elemental of all crostini, Tuscany's fettunta – literally, the “greasy slice”: a slice of rustic Tuscan bread, chargrilled to toasty perfection, is rubbed with a raw garlic clove, seasoned with salt flakes and drenched in a rather lavish amount extra virgin olive oil. As simple as you can get, when done properly with good, thick, green olive oil and just the right amount of garlic, this is surely one of the most satisfying dishes on earth.

Add some cavolo nero, with its bumpy, long, cypress-green leaves, enchanced with a squeeze of lemon, and in under ten minutes, you have a delicious and healthy starter that tastes of a Tuscan winter. Try it also on crostini made of grilled or deep fried slices of polenta.

Cavolo nero or Tuscan kale has its own unique flavour but for the most authentic taste in this dish, it would best be substituted with silverbeet rather than other types of kale, such as curly kale. —Emiko

What You'll Need
  • 1 large bunch (about 2 pounds/1 kilogram) cavolo nero (Tuscan kale)
  • 4 slices of Italian country bread, such as casalinga
  • 1 clove garlic, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus an extra drizzle
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  1. Cook the cavolo nero in boiling salted water for 4-5 minutes until tender, then plunge in ice cold water to stop the cooking process. Pat dry with kitchen paper and remove the central white vein, then chop roughly.
  2. Lightly grill the slices of bread on a grill pan. While the bread is grilling, gently saute the slices of garlic in olive oil until soft but not coloured – essentially the oil is infusing with garlic. Add the cavolo nero and saute for a minute. Squeeze over lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Top crostini with the cavolo nero, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and serve immediately.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Robert Ruiz
    Robert Ruiz
  • Kevin
  • beejay45

3 Reviews

Robert R. January 15, 2023
I've been making this recipe a couple times a year since it first appeared here. These days instead of an appetizer I make it as a whole meal. Since I'm always looking for new ways to add greens, this makes a nice meal. It would be just as good with things added to the mix like strips of bell pepper or whatever. It's delicious and fairly quick and easy, including the cleanup. Thanks for having this here.
Kevin January 27, 2014
Super easy and delicious. I used lacinato kale and a baguette. My new favorite way to make kale.
beejay45 January 26, 2014
Mmm, fettunta. This sounds absolutely delish. I wish this type of kale were more readily available, but I'll see what I can find. Thanks!