Tuscany is best known in Pretoria as a destination, source of Chianti, and a controversial building style.
But now we have Tuscan kale, a pebbly crinkly blue-black member of the cabbage family which possesses untold virtues.
In a market in a Florence, a shopper would find it labeled as cavolo nero (“black cabbage”), although it never forms a cabbage-like head and it is merely dark, not black. Some marketers and chefs call it dinosaur kale – dino kale, for short – possibly because its roughness suggests the presumably leathery skin of those long-extinct creatures. And some call it lacinato – a word probably derived from an Italian botanical term – laciniato – that describes the crinkly leaves.
Tuscan kale is extraordinarily nutritious: a cup provides more than 100 percent of the daily value of vitamins K and A, and 88 percent of the DV for vitamin C. Like other members of the brassica family such as cabbage, broccoli and Brussels sprouts, kale is a rich source of organosulfur compounds that have been linked to cancer prevention.
It’s also an ornamental and productive plant for the small garden. Aa healthy specimen of Tuscan kale can reach two to three feet tall, sometimes even taller. Their palm-tree-like appearance and interesting texture combine well with ornamentals, so you could group it in a flower bed with some orange nasturtiums or marigolds.
Kale can be snipped for salads, added to soups, or sautéed with garlic and olive oil.
Emeril’s Sauteed Tuscan Kale With White Beans