I was in the farm shop yesterday and spotted some cavolo nero, that beautiful dark green Tuscan kale and it reminded me of a regular lunch last winter. One day the clock was ticking towards lunchtime and the fridge was pretty bare – kale, mushrooms and chilli on toast was the unexpectedly rewarding result. As ever with kale you feel it is really doing you good, the chilli adds further pep.
Kale is a funny old vegetable, fresh and invigorating but can be a little bitter. It came as no surprise to find my children weren’t that keen when served kale simply steamed so I had to find an alternative (I am trying to find a way to make every vegetable if not delicious then at least palatable to my two). Having heard about kale crisps I thought I would give them a try. Bingo – even my daughter who would normally recoil in horror at anything cabbagy loved these and indeed there was the usual argy bargy for the last crisps in the bowl. All you do is turn some chopped curly kale in a little olive oil, spread on a baking sheet, sprinkle with a little sea salt and bake at 200 for 10 minutes. It becomes crispy, savoury and deeply moreish.
Kale, Mushrooms and Chilli on Toast
2 handfuls of kale, curly or cavolo nero, chopped up
6 mushrooms, sliced
1/2 a red chilli, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 slices robust bread, ideally sourdough, toasted
Olive oil, plus some extra virgin olive oil for a final dressing
Put a tablespoon of olive oil in a large frying pan or wok over a medium heat. Add the mushrooms and cook until soft and a little coloured. Add the garlic and chilli, stir and then put in the kale. Continuing stirring until the kale wilts a little. Put the slices of toast onto two plates and divide the kale and mushrooms between them. Season with sea salt and pepper and a final, generous trickle of really good extra virgin olive oil. Serves 2.