Our kitchen garden cook reveals her favourite recipes with cavolo nero.
Cavolo nero is bursting with flavour and stands up against robust dishes. As well as its delicious taste, I love the prehistoric appearance of its leaves.
Beef with wild mushrooms and spicy cavolo nero (serves 6)
1kg diced stewing beef
250ml red wine
Olive oil for frying
1 onion, diced
2 medium carrots, diced
2 cloves garlic, sliced
4 rashers smoked bacon
1 tin tomatoes
150ml beef stock
2 bunches cavolo nero
6 anchovy fillets
1 clove garlic
Small handful fresh parsley
1 red chilli
75ml olive oil
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150g wild-mushroom selection
Generous handful parsley
In a large bowl, season the beef, sprinkle with oregano and then pour in the red wine. Leave to marinade in your fridge for at least four hours or, ideally, overnight.
Preheat your oven to 170 ̊C/325 ̊F/gas mark 3. Fry the diced onion in a splash of olive oil and then add the diced carrots and sliced garlic until softened. Transfer to a large casserole dish. Using the same pan, fry the bacon until crisp and add it to the casserole dish. Drain the beef, reserving the red-wine marinade, and fry briefly to seal it. Add the beef to the casserole dish. Pour in the red-wine marinade, the tin of tomatoes and beef stock and place in your oven for two hours.
Remove the tough stalks from the cavolo nero, roll up the leaves and slice into thin ribbons. Cook in a pot of boiling salted water for three minutes before draining. Add together the anchovies, capers, garlic, parsley, chilli and olive oil in a blender and blitz to a paste. (No one will even know there are anchovies in there—it will just taste like a delicious salty and spicy drizzle.) Toss the cavolo nero with the drizzle and keep warm until ready to serve.
Fry the wild mushrooms with a little butter and then add to the casserole dish. Stir everything through and add a generous handful of freshly chopped parsley.
Serve the beef stew with the cavolo nero and buttery, parsley potatoes.
More ways with cavolo nero
Remove the stalks and then cut a bunch of cavolo nero into thin ribbons. Cook in boiling water for 4 minutes, drain well, mix with 150g ricotta and add seasoning. Boil lasagne sheets until soft and then spoon the cavolo-nero mixture onto each before rolling them up and placing them in an oven dish. Pour in a jar of tomato-and-basil sauce, scatter with grated cheese and place in a hot oven for 20 minutes. Serve with salad.
Creamed cavolo nero
Remove the stalks from a bunch of cavolo nero and cut into ribbons. Blanch in boiling water for about 3 minutes and drain well. Heat 125ml single cream in a pan and add a crushed clove of garlic and the cavolo nero. Stir well and serve with roasted monkfish tails wrapped in Parma ham.
Deep-fried cavolo nero
Take a bunch of cavolo nero, remove the stalks and then cut into ribbons. Heat oil in a deep- fat fryer to 180 ̊C/350 ̊F and then fry the leaves for about five seconds. Tip onto kitchen roll and then sprinkle a few pinches of salt and a few pinches of sugar over them.