Sunday, 19 July 2009

Cavolo Nero or Tuscan Kale Savoury Cake

Toscana di nero, Cavolo Nero, Tuscan Kale, Dinosaur kale or Black kale, call it what you want, but I have a load of it growing and am constantly looking for inspiration and ideas to cook with it.

A few days ago, I decided to experiment and make a kale and potato cake. I steamed both the kale and potato slices until they were cooked through. When they were cool enough to handle, I proceeded to layer a 7 inch cake tin with the wilted kale, and then filled the base with the thin potato slices. Drizzled with a bit of olive oil and seasoning, then folded over the overlapping kale.
The savoury cake was pretty astounding to look at, that was until you cut into it, and then it just fell apart. I would probably make this again, but in individual ramekins. You could if you wanted too, grate some pecorino or parmesan cheese between the potato layers, but this one was vegan: pure and simple.
What was interesting about eating this was the kale stalks, although edible, I found them a bit chewy. So after struggling with my knife to cut through the stalk, I decided eat them with my fingers, and in that very moment, whilst gazing at the leafy green still fully intact. I was suddenly reminded of my meat eating days, I felt like I was holding and eating a lamb cutlet off the bone, but I wasn’t, this was a leafy kale stalk. I don’t know what you think, but for me cavolo nero is a meaty and scrumptious leaf.


  1. mmmm that looks delicious mangocheeks. I love kale, cabbage and all brassicas really. Looks like it would make a really nice bubble and squeek. Just finely chop it, mix with lots of leftover mashed/roasted potatoes, a little chilli, some grated onion, leftover cooked bacon (leave the bacon out for a vegetarian version)peas (marrowfats are best), and any other leftover veg from the night before and a tonne of black pepper. bind the mix with an egg or two, form into little cakes with a bit of flour and fry on a hot pan with some olive oil. Bubble and squeek is definately best made as breakfast on boxing day with the leftovers from christmas dinner, its the best part of christmas for me I can't get enough of the stuff.

  2. what a great idea. I've been wondering about using leaves to wrap things. One of my allotment neighbours has a grape vines - a perfect excuse for trying out dolmades ;o)

  3. Great tip for cavalo nero - never seen it done like this before. It sounds a lot like savoy cabbage, where you always have to take out the stalk on the darker outer leaves.

    Sometimes the texture and eating method are as much a part of the food as the taste - witness artichokes or, as you say, meat on the bone. It gives the food another dimension.

  4. I wish I had lots of kale growing - your cake reminded me of a cabbage gateau I made once which had cabbage leaves around a stuffing of vegies, pinenuts, eggs, ricotto and breadcrumbs - a bit like a nutroast filling

  5. Hi Sharon,
    Thank you. I like the suggestion of bubble and squeak. I will try it sometime with some flecks of chilli.

    Thank you. Cavalo Nero Dolmades, now thats a great idea. My brain is ticking with ideas.

    Thank you. Yes, I guess it is a bit like savoy cabbage.

    Hi there Johanna,
    Cabbage Gateau, that sounds really interesting. Is it on your blog? It must be, in which case I must check it out.

  6. This looks delicious though I've yet to conquer my fear of kale.

  7. Mmm... I would recommend curly kale, much more flavour I think.


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