Since I have done a lot of cooking from Italian cookbooks, I have been reading about Cavolo Nero or “black kale” for years, but I had never seen it in local stores, never knew how to find it. Yesterday I went to Wegman’s and noticed an unusual kind of kale, both in green and purple forms. It was marked “lacinata kale” – I asked the produce guy if this was cavolo nero but he didn’t know. When I got home I looked it up and evidently lacinata or “dinosaur kale” would be names used in English-speaking markets. It did not seem to look exactly like the pictures online but I think it is probably close enough. As in the image below it is supposed to have long narrow-ish leaves, extremely crinkly.
Why am I excited about this? Well, the use of cavolo nero has spread from just Italian cooking – evidently Paula Wolfert has several “Mediterranean” recipes that use it, and specifically Thomas Keller has a mushroom, leek, and potato soup in “Ad Hoc” which calls for some cavolo nero, and I have been planning to make that soup.
Ever heard of this stuff? Ever used it?
Oh yeah, I like it a lot. Great in soups or even just sauteed. Used to get it at the Santa Barbara Farmers Market and a few grocery stores. Up here it’s not that common, but I’ve seen it in the occasional farmers market and some Seattle & Portland stores.
Is this not Lacinato Kale aka Dinosaur Kale?
Read the header.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kale" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
You mean you like -o better than -a? Not sure which spelling Wegman’s used.
Now I can finish my ribollita!
I have cooked lacinato/lacinata/dinosaur kale a number of times. For my palate it’s nothing special, with a tendency toward leatheriness and a less robust flavor* than either the curly green or Russian red cultivars.
- Those who think kale is bitter - do I correctly remember that you are in that camp? - may consider this an advantage.
I’ve had this at AOC in Los Angeles where they sautee the kale in bacon fat to the point where it gets kind of crispy. It’s outrageously good.
I’ve been getting the lacinata for the past few months from my home delivery of organic produce. It took a few batches to get it cooked to my liking and now I love the stuff.
Had a cavolo nero pesto last night at a friend’s house. Good stuff!
I probably cook this once a week, as it’s the norm up here. Lacinato or “dino” kale. Mild, quite yummy after a 60 second saute with just EVOO and salt. Very good with pasta. It is a standard side for me with a steak or roast chicken. Works well with garlic as well.
Thanks for the replies. It is interesting that it appears to be a regional thing.
I have been seriously cooking Italian for at least 15 years, and I think I would have noticed it if it were easily available, because several recipes call for it. If I am right then it is odd that the stuff is so unavailable in the Northeast, with such a large Italian population.
Of course there are probably also a lot of people like me who grew up with “other” kinds of kale in the south, and perhaps there isn’t room for too many different kales in the market.
Most people who say they see it all the time are on the West Coast, am I wrong about that?
I suppose it’s also possible that a lot of Italians in the NY area grow the stuff in their back yard…
In Seattle at least this is way, way more common than the other, frillier kale varieties, especially in the winter.
As Robert says, you see a lot of curly kale and Russian kale in the southern US. My grandmother would cook it with a hamhock, maybe sometimes in the pressure cooker, and we’d get it at Thanksgiving and other important meals as a side dish. I always thought it smelled bad, was tough, and had a strong unpleasant taste (except for the ham part) and ate it under protest. Collards were a whole different story, I always liked those.
Unless I have been selectively blind, I am not sure I =ever= saw the lacinato stuff in a store until last week. It is wonderful to have stores around like Wegman’s and Whole Foods, increases one’s choices enormously.
I wonder if the NY-NJ Italian community didn’t demand it because it’s more of a Tuscan thing? Maybe it’s not used as much in southern Italy. Googling hasn’t really helped me with this issue.