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Tuscan Kale Crostino Is Your Seasonal Starter

Our contributor from Florence shares her recipe for this seasonal crostino using Tuscan kale and fresh extra virgin olive oil.

Crostino con cavalo nero. Photy by Toni Mazzaglia.

Crostino con cavolo nero. Photo by Toni Mazzaglia.

Olive oil is pressed around November in most parts of Tuscany, and kale is a winter vegetable, so the two ingredients make their appearance by the holidays and compliment each other beautifully in traditional dishes.

One of my favorite combinations of these seasonal ingredients is Tuscan kale crostino, or crostino con cavolo nero. This makes a nice antipasto, or double the portions and you’ve got a great, quick meal.

Once you try this simple Tuscan recipe, and taste the fabulous results, you’ll be craving it often.

Crostino Con Cavolo Nero

Crostino Con Cavolo Nero

Recipe by Toni Mazzaglia
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Prep time


Cooking time




  • 2 pounds 2 Lacerato (dinosaur) or Tuscan kale.

  • 5 5 whole black pepper corns

  • 1 teaspoon 1 kosher salt + more for finishing

  • 6 1-2 inch slices 6 crusty bread (the crustier the better)

  • 1 clove 1 garlic

  • 1/4 cup 1/4 fresh Extra Virgin Olive Oil + more to finish

  • freshly ground pepper (to taste)

  • 1 pinch 1 salt


  • Fill your tallest pot with water (leave about 4 inches space from the water level to top of the pot) and bring the water to a boil.
  • As the water is heating, clean the kale by shucking the leaves off the stems.
  • Once water is boiling, add a teaspoon of salt, peppercorns, and kale. Gently assist the kale into the water so it cooks evenly. Lower heat a little so the pot doesn’t over-boil.
  • Set a timer for 20 minutes. Stir occasionally.
  • Check the kale: it should feel soft, like cooked spinach (if it is not ready it will still feel a bit al dente or look a bit too firm).
  • Cook another 5-10 minutes, or until the kale is truly soft.
  • Toast 6 slices of crusty bread till super crunchy (nice and brown!). The bread should be sliced no more than 1/2 inch thick.
  • Drizzle your toasted slices with the olive oil first, then rub with a raw garlic clove (the garlic should be sliced in half, and you’ll be rubbing the flat, exposed part of the garlic onto the bread).
  • Drain the cooked kale well, making sure there isn’t any water remaining.
  • Add a nice heap (about 2 tablespoons) of cooked kale on top of each slice of the toasted garlic bread, then top it off with salt and grated pepper and a generous drizzle of more fresh extra virgin olive oil.
  • Serve immediately and enjoy.

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