A Tasty Gratin of Cavolo Nero

A Tasty Gratin of Cavolo Nero

I try to take a list with me whenever I go grocery shopping, and I try really hard to stick to it . . . but I always inevitably come home with a few things that weren't on my list.  And it's not normally something like biscuits or other naughty bits . . . it's more than likely to be a fruit or a vegetable that's just caught my eye and created a craving.

Ingredients

  • I try to take a list with me whenever I go grocery shopping, and I try really hard to stick to it . . . but I always inevitably come home with a few things that weren't on my list.  And it's not normally something like biscuits or other naughty bits . . . it's more than likely to be a fruit or a vegetable that's just caught my eye and created a craving.
  • The other day I came upon some Cavolo Nero Cabbage, and it looked really tasty . . . really nice,  dark green and very fresh looking . . . it's leaves all tightly crinkled.  Flavorsome and mildly astringent, it is a lovely brassica that is a real favourite of mine.  It's chock full of vitamins and good things.   It's also known as Black Cabbage, Tuscan Cabbage and Black or Dinosaur Kale, due to it's upright and extremely wrinkled black green leaves.  Of course I had to bring some home with me.
  • It's just lovely shredded and added to vegetable soups, and is lovely when braised.  You can even toss it with some olive oil and seasonings and then bake it in the oven until it is crispy like Kale Chips.  Today I decided to just make a simple gratin with it, using up some things in my fridge that needed using up. I had some pancetta cubes that were coming close to their sell by date and a pot of double cream . . . just perfect for using up in this  delicious dish.  Very easy to make . . . I like easy to make as I am rather lazy at times.  I put my hand up and admit it.
  • You will want to wash it really well as, with all of those little crinkles . . . it has a tendency to hold in grit and dirt.  Just wash it under some running water and shake it dry.  I always cut the middle stems out of the Cavolo as it can be a bit stringy and fibrous, and I am not all that fond of the texture.  Then I just simply slice it crosswise coarsely, and steam.
  • Bacon and cabbage are perfect partners and so I sauteed the pancetta until it was just beginning to crisp and let out it's juices and then I added a chopped onion, and cooked it all until it was golden and soft.  Then I dumped in the pot of cream and a tablespoon of Dijon mustard.
  • I put the steamed cabbage into a shallow baking dish and then I poured the delicious cream mixture over top, sprinkled with come crisp and buttery crumbs and then banged it into the oven until the whole thing was bubbly and the crumbs were turning a nice golden brown.
  • The sauce was rich, but not overly so . . . with smokey undertones from the bacon and a bit of sharpness from the mustard . . . and then of course there was that golden sweetness of the onions . . . all going very well with those dark green, slightly bitter and astringent leaves.
  • It made a fabulous simple supper tonight, along with a crusty loaf and a few slices of cheddar cheese.  A simple supper for a cool Monday evening . . . warming and satisfying.
  • A Tasty Gratin of Cavolo Nero
  • Printable Recipe
  • Simple and delicious.
  • 300g of Cavolo Nero
  • fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 140g of diced pancetta (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
  • 375ml of cream
  • 1 heaped TBS of Dijon mustard
  • buttered crumbs
Read the whole recipe on The English Kitchen