Spiced Tuscan Kale

August 1, 2010

A friend came by yesterday with armfuls of Lacinato Kale from her garden. I’d already bought tiny new potatoes for dinner, and corn and tomatoes, and I had a pan of peppers, onions and green garlic on the stove, sending that spectacular fresh garlic aroma up into the air. But it seemed a shame not to use the kale while it was still hours from the earth, so I poked around in the refrigerator until I came up with this dish. We all liked it so much that I’m calling to ask for more kale; I could eat this every day.

Spicy Tuscan Kale

Strip 3 bunches of Lacinato kale from the ribs and coarsely tear them into pieces. Drop them into a few quarts of boiling salted water for about a minute, drain and run under cold water to stop the cooking. Set aside.

Pour a glug or two of olive oil into a frying pan, and add 4 anchovies. Stir about until the little fish disintegrate, then add two coarsely chopped onions. Shake in some chile flakes and salt and pepper to taste. Add 4 smashed cloves of garlic and cook until it is all insanely fragrant. Add the kale and a bit more oil and cook just until it comes together into a dark, soft, glorious mush. Toss with grated Parmesan and crisp bread crumbs.


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  • Debdahlin says:

    So excited to find you here on-line, why haven’t I goggled your name before?. Love food and miss your words and smile every month. In the middle of “Garlic and Sapphires” and don’t want it to end. Reading lots of it aloud to my husband, too fun. Keep writing, you’ve got great style.

  • Boberonicus says:

    When on vacation in Italy, I grew very fond of the way greens were prepared. I’ve been trying to recreate that style ever since; I think they called it “jumped.” It looks like what I’ve been missing are the anchovies. Went to the store today and found organic Lacinato kale (I’d never heard of that style), we’ll try this tomorrow. Incidentally, can you eat Ornamental Kale?

  • 7nina says:

    How would this dish be without the anchovies? I’m allergic to fish and don’t want to deal with the hives I’d get? or can you reccommend a substitute?

  • I love the addition of anchovies. Parmesan and bread crumbs…amazing. I’m wishing we had kale.

  • Ruth Reichl says:

    7nina – This would certainly work without the anchovies. I’d be tempted to substitute another umami ingredient; I’m thinking a little miso would work beautifully in the dish. I’ll try it next week and let you know – but I can kind of taste it in my head, and I like it.

  • 7nina says:

    Thanks Ruth-I’ll give it a try. The most trying thing about the allergy is having to be careful about things like anchovies and fish sauce.

  • boberonicus says:

    My wife liked the spiciness and could not detect the anchovies, which is good, I think. I used the glass jar / Italian anchovies which (as I’m sure you know) are more mild than the overly salted tin can variety.

  • Paigeorloff says:

    So glad you posted this recipe. I can see the kale in my garden crying out to be picked, just for this…

  • Oh, my gosh, I have a huge bag of kale in my fridge RIGHT NOW that I was wondering what to do with.
    Now, I KNOW!
    We’re trimming the Christmas tree tonight! Not exactly a summer meal for us, but I think a big pot of pasta to go with, and we’ll totally be in bidness!

  • I made it for our dinner tonight. It was wonderful.
    Thanks, Ruth! 😀

  • And tonight, I’m having the leftovers.
    This is SO going into my “do over” recipe collection!!!
    Kale is like the best thing in the world for us, nutritionally speaking!!!

  • I have seen several recipes lately (that look wonderful) calling for Tuscan Kale. I can’t find it in my area. What would be the best substitution? And is Tuscan Kale as dense of a green as Curly Kale? I want to use this in a soup and I’m wondering if collard greens would be a better substitution…thanks for your input!


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