Inspired by an Italian friend of ours, we’ve lately been stocking our fridge heavily with Cavolo Nero. If you aren’t familiar with this heady vegetable, it’s spinach’s stronger, darker sibling. Think of Popeye meeting the Incredible Hulk. Wham!
For Mother’s Day, Nye gave me a new cookbook: Spuntino. Within it’s beautiful pages was a delicious sounding recipe for Mozzarella & Cavolo Nero Crostini. Faced with a lack of an idea for dinner, this popped into mind. I had to give it a whirl.
Oh… yum. A darker, earthier version of pesto that is positively bursting with flavour and nutrients. It’s an absurdly easy meal (so long as you have a food processor, and no, a NutriBullet won’t cut it), easily done within 15 minutes after you’ve done it once or twice.
Do, however, be sure to get a killer mozzarella to pair with it — it’ll need to hold its own!
- about 200g cavolo nero, stems removed
- 3-4 garlic cloves
- good handful of parmesan, about 20g
- sea salt flakes and fresh ground black pepper
- 100g extra virgin olive oil, plus some for drizzling
- juice of 1 lemon
- 8 slices of ciabatta
- 2 x 125g balls of bulls mozzarella, at room temperature
- Slice ciabatta and brush olive oil over both sides of all slices. Set aside.
- Heat salted water to boiling.
- While waiting for it to boil, wash and cut cavolo nero into 2cm strips.
- Get a bowl filled with ice water prepped for blanching the cavolo nero.
- Add cavolo nero to boiling water. As soon as the water begins to boil again, quickly drain the cavolo nero and put it into the ice water to retain its brilliant colour and flavour.
- Give it a minute or two to cool, then drain throughly, squeezing out all excess water by hand.
- Place 2 of the garlic cloves, cavilo nero, parmesan, salt and pepper into a food processor, and purée.
- Slowly add olive oil.
- Add lemon juice and mix in by hand.
- Toast ciabatta slices on both sides using a broiler or griddle.
- The moment they are toasted, remove. Rub garlic along each piece, crumble mozzarella on top, spoon the pesto over and sprinkle on some parmesan. Enjoy with a hearty wine!