Lacinato Kale Crostini

Cavolo Nero or Lacinato Kale … what a strange vegetable!!!

I discovered this crunchy and tasty vegetables ten years ago when I moved to Tuscany. The first time I saw it I was a little bit disappointed about touching the dark green, curly and rugose leaves. They seemed to be an “alien” veggie … a mix between organic staff and hard gum !!!!!!!!!!

Lacinato Kale  Lacinato Kale Crostini

But when finally I tried them, my idea had to change and I felt in love !!! Now i use a lot the lacinato kale to prepare soups, a nice risotto and some tasty crostini!

Every time I have a dinner with friends or a simple quick lunch with family, I prepare these crostini … sometimes i top them with different ingredients as spicy olive oil, fried bacon or flakes of Pecorino cheese, but always using the basic original recipe !

Thank to Marissa I have learned something new: I was thinking this kind of cabbage was typically from Tuscany and almost unknown in the rest of the world. When she proposed a “lacinato kale post” I had to look in a vocabulary to understand this strange word and, with joy, I’ve discovered it was my adorable “cavolo nero” and it was possible to use it in lots of different recipes as the delicious salad Marissa has prepared for her post!

Thanks to Marissa i’ll try a new delicious salad but also a “new version” of my lacinato kale crostini … with almond and garlic raisin on top!!! An incredible mix of the 2 recipe !!!

Lacinato Kale Crostini

A bunch of Lacinato Kale
2 Cloves Garlic
Extravergine olive oil
Slices of bread ( Tuscan bread if possible!!!)
Rocky salt
Water

Chop the lacinato kale in big pieces. In a pan sauté the garlic in extra verging olive oil until you can smell the garlic ( make attention not to burn it ). Add the lacinato kale, stir and make it fry a little bit. Add water and a pinch of rocky, stir and cover. Let it cook until it became tender, add water if necessary. Drizzle some extravergine olive oil on slices of bread and bake them in the oven for 10 minutes. Top them with cooked lacinato kale. If there is some water left in the pan  put some on the slices of bread before the lacinato kale …  it gives a very good taste!!!

Buon Appetito!

Meet Marissa, an american friend and her Caesar Salad recipe

I’m so excited: with this post Marissa and i start an “American-Italian Post Project”. We want to write every month a post about food, culture, traditions and our life in our own country. Same arguments from two point of view. I love the idea to create this virtual bridge between us and discover what will happen.

Marissa is an american friend of mine. She has a beautiful food blog, called PinchandSwirl. In her blog she talks a little bit about her life but, above all, about delicious recipes she prepares, a mix of american, italian and international dishes, always with a her personal touch. All the posts have something more: her beautiful photos!

I met Marissa a year ago. Marissa and her husband Keith spent 65 days around Italy, visiting Venice, Bologna, Florence and Tuscany, Roma and more, and sharing all their experiences in their blog 65 days in Italy. During this trip they stopped at Podere Vignali where i organized a cooking class for them.

We had a beautiful time cooking and talking about food, traditions and our countries. I was so proud of my job when they talked about me in their blog and their travel guide. After that time we kept in touch via email. We get long well and i feel comfortable talking to her, probably because, like me, she moved a lot in her life living in different cities and learning a lot from those experiences. Marissa writes in her blog ” I live in Bend, Oregon, graduated from college in Idaho, and grew up in California. Before Bend I lived in Seattle, where I worked with my husband to restore a 1921 Craftsman Bungalow – so I’m handy with a hammer and a kitchen knife”.

I like her kindness and her way to observe the world around … and also i like her recipe! To open this series of posts i decided to prepare one of her recipe “Chopped Caesar Salad with Crispy Capers and Giant Croutons“, an american recipe with italian origin and her touch!

Chopped Caesar Salad with Crispy Capers and Giant Croutons

Here Marissa’s recipe for Caesar Salad from her blog:

Crispy capers and giant croutons:
1/4 cup capers, rinsed and patted dry
4 slices (1/2 inch) whole wheat sourdough or whole grain peasant loaf … i used unsalted tuscan Bread
olive oil for tossing/drizzling

For the dressing:
2 small garlic cloves, minced
2 anchovies (optional – Worcestershire sauce gives a slight anchovy flavor)
1 egg yolk
1/4 cup lemon juice, preferably fresh
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese plus extra to shave over salad (preferably Parmigiano-Reggiano or Grana Padano)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

For the salad:
2 romaine lettuce hearts, chopped
2 hard boiled eggs, chopped

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Place capers in a small bowl and add about 1 teaspoon of olive oil; toss to coat.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange bread slices on one half of the baking sheet and sprinkle capers in a single layer on the other. Drizzle bread slices with olive oil. Bake for 15 minutes or until bread is golden brown and capers are crispy. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.

Add all dressing ingredients except oil – garlic through Parmesan cheese – to the pitcher of a blender; puree. With blender running, slowly add olive oil and continue to blend until thoroughly combined. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

In a large bowl combine chopped romaine and eggs; toss to combine. Drizzle with desired amount of dressing and toss to coat.

Divide salad between 4 serving bowls. Top each salad with one giant crouton, a sprinkle of crispy capers, and several shavings of Parmesan cheese. Serve.

I start preparing the dressing, then cutting the salad, toasting the bread and the capers. After combining all , we had delicious salad for lunch … Very good!!! Bravissima Marissa !!!

Buon Appetito !!!

I hope you like this post and all the posts will come after !!! But now read Marissa lovely post Authentic Italian Ragu&Meet Giovanna

SEE YOU SOON … A PRESTO!!

Stew Escarole

Thursday i went to the farmer’s market close to home. Looking around I found my favorite lettuce, the escarole or endive!!!!!! I was very happy when I saw it on the stall for 2 reasons:  finding the escarole at the market means autumn is arriving  and i adore the autumn, and, in second place, with the escarole i prepare a very tasty dish:  Stew Escarole.

I use Escarole, a salad green of the chicory family, in many winter recipes like soups and stew meats, because it has a  particular taste: a little bit bitter but it is perfect with something sweeter. I’ve tried this recipe the first time i met my mother in law( that time she was just my probable future mother in law!!!) and i liked it very much, ever since she prepares it all the time we go visiting her for Christmas.

Scarola Stufata

2 bunches of Escarole, trimmed and torn
3-4 anchovy fillets in olive oil or a tablespoon of anchovy paste
a garlic clove, minced
a small cup of black olives, called “olive taggiasche”, without stones
2 tablespoons of pine nuts
1/3 cup of raisins
extravergine olive oil
rocky salt

Wash each leaf well and pat dry really well. Turn on the heat, put the escarole in a pan with olive oil, cover and stew it for a couple of minutes,  the escarole has to lose water. Remove the water, take aside the escarole and, in the same pan, sautè olive oil,  garlic and anchovies. Breaking up anchovies, put the escarole, add salt and stir a little bit, cover and stew for 2 minutes. Then add olives, raisins and pine nuts and let it cook for 10 minutes. Ready !

Usually i serve it with meat, but i love it on a vegetarian pizza!!!

Buon Appetito !!!