Black cabbage, palm cabbage, Nero di Toscana or Cavolo Nero? This Italian vegetable has many names. Let’s take a closer look at this ingredient and share some tasty ways to prepare it.
A Little Product Knowledge
Cavolo Nero is an Italian black cabbage with long, curly, waxy, juicy leaves. Like many other cabbages, it belongs to the Brassica family. The blackish-green vegetable is rich in iron, nutrients, and it is considered to be a cancer-fighting food. This native Tuscan plant thrives in a sunny climate.
The Prep Work
The leaves are an important ingredient for Italian vegetable stews such as Ribollita, but it’s not limited to soups and stews. The Italians have conjured other creative ways to use the ingredient. It can be cooked, blanched, or even eaten raw. After being cooked in the oven for 15 minutes these leaves transform into crispy Kale Chips. The first step in prepping this cabbage is to simply remove the coarse stalk followed by chopping the leaves. The flavor is slightly milder and sweeter than green cabbage. Here are two ways to enjoy this veggie:
Pasta Cavolo Nero
Wash the leaves then simmer them lightly in boiling water for about five minutes. Next, drain the Cavolo well and chop it coarsely. Over low heat sauté the chopped leaves briefly with olive oil, garlic, and a small orange peel. Season with chili flakes, salt, and pepper, then toss with your favorite cooked pasta. Lastly, garnish Pasta Cavolo Nero with chopped nuts, parsley, and pecorino or parmesan cheese.
Just like kale, Cavolo Nero can be prepared as an antipasti vegetable. Cut the dark green leaves into small pieces. Next, briefly place them in boiling water and quickly blanch them in ice cold water. Dress the blanched leaves with lemon juice, parmesan, sea salt, and pepper. This dish tastes delicious when garnished with grapes, shallots, nuts, or sun-dried tomatoes.
Cavolo Nero is decorative when planted in a container or garden bed. The long, slender leaves are aesthetically pleasing.
Cover: StockFood / Arjan Smalen Photography / #12477434