The heat is on in the superfood battle of the century. Quinoa, kale, blueberries, goji berries, more quinoa and even more kale. Curly kale, regular kale and one of my favourites – the black tuscan variety. Commonly known in Australia as Tuscan Cabbage, or if you want to be all fancy and italian, Cavolo Nero.
These hardy leafy greens are delicious and require very little to make them into an amazing dish. I’m more into how food tastes than how beneficial it is to me (yes, fried chicken still wins most of the time), but if there’s an award for most outstanding vege of 2014, kale wins hands (or stalks) down.
Kale, the over-achiever, is full of Vitamins A, C, K, calcium, antioxidants, is meant to be anti-inflammatory food (what?), good for cardiovascular support (double what?), a good detox food and is high in fibre (now that I understand). You can spend hours googling benefits of kale and be hit with probably countless more. Go for your life, or you can take just 15 minutes to prepare this totally delicious braised cavolo nero to go with a great roast dinner.
BRAISED CAVOLO NERO
Recipe from The Italian Gardener
1 bunch cavolo nero (about 250g)
100ml extra virgin olive oil or to taste
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 anchovy fillets, finely chopped
Wash cavolo nero, strip out the tough stems and chop roughly. Blanch in boiling water until just tender, drain and set aside. Heat the olive oil in a dry saucepan over low-medium heat and add the garlic and anchovy and fry gently. Add the cavolo nero and braise for a few minutes until the cavolo nero is tender, has heated through and picked up the flavoured oil.
CRISPY SKIN PORK BELLY
I’ve used this method (which I got from watching a food program – can’t remember which one) a few times and it has never failed me. Nothing fancy, just simply pork, salt, lemon juice. Oh yes.
1.5 kg pork belly
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp sea salt
Preheat oven to 220C (425F).
Score the skin of the pork belly (I like them with narrow slits, rather than ones that are far apart). Rub lemon juice on the skin only. Then generously rub salt over it. (I rub most of it over the skin, and very very little on the bottom). Place on roasting tin and roast for 20 minutes until skin crisps up.
Turn the oven down to 180C (350F) and continue roasting the pork for a further 1 hour 10 minutes. Rest for 15 minutes before serving.