My Spicy Tuscan Kale

November 5, 2011

This is one of my absolute go-to recipes.  It's great with a roast, or a piece of fish, but you can also toss it into pasta for a quick dinner. If you want to make a vegetarian version, replace the anchovies with a few good dollops of miso – it works really well.  And if you want a vegan version, omit the Parmesan (although it will not, in my opinion, be as good).  Want it spicer?  Throw in more chiles.  And if you have good homemade bread crumbs in your freezer (I always do), it will taste especially wonderful. 

Tuscan Kale

3 bunches Lacinato Kale, (about 3 pounds), stems and ribs discarded, leaves torn into large pieces and washed 

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided

4 flat filet anchovies in olive oil, preferably jarred variety

3/4 teaspoon red chili flakes

2 medium onions, large dice, (about 2 cups)

½ teaspoon sea salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

 4 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed

¼ cup grated parmesan cheese

½ cup toasted breadcrumbs


Bring 4-6 quarts of water and 1 teaspoon of salt to boil in a large pot. Plunge the kale into the water and cook for one minute. The color will become a vibrant green within this time. Remove the kale to a colander under cold running water to stop the cooking. Drain and set aside.

Heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a medium-large skillet over medium heat and add the anchovies, pressing and stirring them into the oil until they disintegrate. Add the onions, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper, and stir over medium-high heat for 8-10 minutes until they become translucent and soft. Add the kale to the onions along with the garlic and the last tablespoon of olive oil. Stir occasionally until everything comes together in a soft mass for about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and toss with breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese.


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1 Comment

  • Good recipe. I live in Toscana and love Cavolo Nero. I just cooked it. I do not use anchovies, but some chopped guanciale (similar to pancetta, b ut better the real thing you need for amatriciana, cerbonara and similar dishes).