Kale: Not just a winter vegetable anymore.
We had some leftover polenta in the freezer. My grocery delivery included Tuscan kale, called variously cavalo nero, lacinato kale, or dino kale—due to its rough-looking leaves.
Call it whatever you want, but do try to get your hands on some. It’s especially healthy, and like some other greens normally found in the sea, contains Omega-3 (alpha-linolenic acid). Fortunately, Tuscan kale tastes nothing like seaweed. (It has a proud lineage: it was actually the precursor to modern cabbage and broccoli) It's a bit like chard, but tougher—dare I say, meatier.
If you don’t have polenta in the freezer, it’s easy to make from scratch. (Instructions here: note that that makes about twice as much as you'll need for this dish.)
Although kale is normally thought of as a winter vegetable, Tuscan kale will pop up in your farmers’ market throughout the spring and summer.
This recipe comes together quickly—here’s how:
Tuscan Kale with Cannelloni Beans and Polenta Points
- 1 lb Tuscan kale (dino kale, lacinato, or cavalo nero)
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 red onion, cut in wedges
- ¼ cup (about 4 or 5) sundried tomatoes, chopped
- 1 can or 2 cups cannelloni beans (or other white beans)
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- 1 teaspoon marjoram
- salt, to taste
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup pinenuts, toasted
- Polenta wedges
Wash the kale, and place in a large pan of boiling water. Parboil for 2-3 minutes, then remove from water and rinse with cold water. Chop into 1 inch pieces.
Heat the olive oil in a large pan or Dutch oven (large enough to hold the kale later). Add the onion and garlic. Saute for 5 minutes, then add the sundried tomatoes and the kale. Stir, and pour in most of the vegetable stock. (Add more later if necessary.) Cook for 10 minutes, or until kale is soft.
Add the beans, and heat through. Season with the marjoram, salt and pepper. Serve over the polenta wedges, and sprinkle the pine nuts over the top.