Cavolo nero is a a loose-leafed cabbage from Tuscany. Even though it is believed that it originates in my country, Italy, I am not very familiar with its intense flavour and wouldn’t be able to prepare any cavolo nero-based Italian traditional dish. I found it in my fridge (bf is very much into healthy stuff) and had to come up with a recipe that was not a Tuscan soup (as you might already know Italians do not eat soup when it’s hot)
I had a few doubts in mixing cavolo nero and ricotta, not knowing how the two ingredients stick together. I added an egg to play safe, although I have to say the very firm Cypriot ricotta I bought in Waitrose did a great job in binding and keeping everything together. After a few seconds in the food processor, the mixture reached already the perfect consistency to make patties without effort. Depending on the type of ricotta you use, you may need to add more breadcrumbs.
I had no doubts on why I “had” to eat cavolo nero. First, it happened to be already in my fridge, second this brassica vegetable is among the most antioxidant-rich foods on Earth. The antioxidants in Tuscan black kale destroy free radicals, which are better known as the enemy number one in this battle against aging we are all in.
And the taste?
Intense, a bit on the bitter side. Cavolo nero does not play marginal roles. If you are not a fan of kale-like and dark leaf green taste, I would recommend reducing the amount of cavolo in favour of more ricotta (which should not be soft or runny!).
Have you ever had cavolo nero? What recipes have you made with it?
- 6-8 leaves of cavolo nero
- 250 g firm full-fat ricotta cheese
- 1 large free-range egg
- 1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
- 50 g breadcrumbs
- olive oil, to fry in
- Blanch the cavolo nero leaves in a pan of boiling water for 1 minute, then drain well squeezing the leaves to remove the excess liquid. Pat dry with paper towel.
- Place the ricotta, kale, parmesan and lemon zest into a food processor and pulse for 30 seconds or until well combined.
- Transfer the mixture to a large bowl, stir in the egg, the breadcrumbs and mix thoroughly to combine. Season with the salt and pepper. Add more breadcrumbs if the mixture is still too soft/liquid.
- Form into 12 patties.
- Heat the olive oil in a clean frying pan over medium heat. Fry the patties in two or three batches for 2-3 minutes per side.