The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Crostini di Cavolo Nero

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dmsnyder's picture

Crostini di Cavolo Nero

One of my favorite uses for several days old sourdough bread is crostini. These little open-faced sandwiches can be topped with all sorts of meat spreads or vegetable combinations. They are very traditional in Tuscany as antipasti. I am usually prompted to make them when I get a chicken that includes the giblets. A spread of chicken liver, generally sautéed and mashed with diced vegetables, wine and herbs is among the most common topping for crostini, although I often flavor mine more in a French style with shallots, dry white wine, thyme and tarragon than in the Italian style.

Another traditional Italian topping for crostini is cavolo nero. This is a very dark green, curly-leafed kale which has a wonderful flavor. It is also delicious mixed with crumbled Italian sausage in a sandwich, on pizza or with pasta. This time of year, there is lots of cavolo nero in our local farmer's market, and tonight I made crostini di cavolo nero as an appetizer to eat while the trout and fennel gratin were finishing baking. I adapted the recipe from Flavors of Tuscany, by Maxine Clark.



6 thin slices of crusty sourdough bread

3 T EVOO, plus more for brushing the bread

10 oz (more or less) Cavolo nero, leaves cut from the tough central stem and cut into thin shreds.

2-3 garlic cloves, sliced thin

Sea salt and fresh-ground pepper

1 T balsamic vinegar

Fresh herbs to garnish (optional)


Pre-heat oven to 375ºF

Brush both sides of the bread slices with olive oil, place the bread on a baking pan and bake for 10 minutes, turning once. They should be browned somewhat. Keep them warm.

In a 10-12 inch sauté pan or in a wok, sauté the garlic in 3 T olive oil on medium heat until they just start to color (about 1 minute).

Turn up the heat to medium-high. Add the cavolo nero and a dash of water. Season with salt and pepper. Toss and stir continuously.

When the cavolo nero is limp (1-2 minutes), add the balsamic vinegar. Continue to cook and stir until the vinegar has evaporated.

Place generous portions of the cavolo nero on the toasts and serve immediately.

Slices of bread (SFBI Artisan II Miche), ready to brush with olive oil and toast

De-stemming cavolo nero

Mis en place - balsamic vinegar, sliced garlic, shredded cavolo nero

Buon appetito!


Submitted to YeastSpotting


coffeemachine's picture

hi david,


yummy looking crostini! from the picture, it seems like the black cabbage is lacinato/dino kale?




p.s. i've been mostly lurking and drooling over your blog for quite a while now =P

AnnaInMD's picture

I was not aware of cavolo but will print out for later this year and the wonderful greens from the local farmers. 

I can also use this idea for my breads which neglect to rise - I make two bottoms of them and pile on odds and ends for impromptu 'pizzas'. 


PS:  Please tell your wife that her various tablecloths and dishes are very pretty :)

flourgirl51's picture

This looks very yummy! I am going to grow kale this year so may try it later on.

GSnyde's picture

Looks great, David.  I love crostini. My favorite is corn rye with kosher salami and cheese.  OK, I admit, I never heard Mom call it "crostini".  


teketeke's picture

Thank you for posting an interesting recipe, David.   I never had cavolo nero, but I will try it soon.  I like to see a whole recipe including bread. :)  Sometimes, Glenn and sortachef and some other TFL post like that too, and I appreciate it. I have always trouble to come up a new recipe for my family. Thank you, David 

Best wishes,


wally's picture

My staling sourdough tends to end up as breadcrumbs or croutons, but I like your uses much more!


saltandserenity's picture

You always make me so hungry.

LindyD's picture

Gosh those look nice.

Thanks for the reminder of this versatile treat.  While in NYC this summer, we dined at a lovely little Italian restaurant on Clinton St.  One of the appetizers was a ricotta crostini with a touch of honey.  It was wonderful.

I guess I better add ricotta to my shopping list!

dmsnyder's picture

My other favorite use for un-fresh sourdough is toasts (rubbed with a garlic clove) for onion soup au gratin. Yum! 


EvaB's picture

Just lovely, and I like kale of any kind, haven't seen the dark stuff anyplace, but hey might find a package of seeds in a seed catalogue and be able to grow my own.
I must organize a cold frame, so I could grow kale all winter! Its been cold this winter, but not too cold I think, since the kale plant on the deck is still looking ok, and it was under 21.5 inches of snow last week,and melted out this.