Kale is one the most popular Dutch vegetables and it’s grown a lot and eaten often during the cold months. It is apparently one of the things that the Dutch miss the most when they move to another country. I once volunteered on a Norwegian organic farm that was doing a pretty good business selling kale to homesick Dutch immigrants (meanwhile I am doing a modest business teaching potential emigrants Norwegian here in the Netherlands).
Interestingly though, the Dutch cuisine does not boast many kale recipes. Most of the kale grown in this country ends up as “stampot” which is basically potato mash with kale (eaten with a smoked sausage). And I like it fine (minus the sausage) but sometimes I want to make something with brighter flavours. This bruschetta recipe is a riff on salsa verde with the robust flavours of olives, capers and gherkins, brightened with plenty of parsley and cushioned by creamy mascarpone.
If you add olive oil and grated Parmesan this kale salsa is also great with spaghetti.
Adapted from Sarah Ravens cookbook which is indispensable for those cooking from the garden In Season: Cooking with Vegetables and Fruits
200 g (7 ounces) kale, stalks removed
2 garlic cloves, peeled
3 tablespoons chopped capers
3 tablespoons chopped gherkins
3 tablespoons chopped shallots
3 tablespoons chopped green olives
3 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
juice of one lime
salt and black pepper
1 small tub of mascarpone cheese
good-quality sourdough bread
1 garlic clove
In a large pan, bring water to boil. Add salt and put in the kale. Boil the kale until tender, for about 4 -5 minutes. Drain in a colander, then press the kale with the back of a wooden spoon to squeeze out as much water as you can. Chop the kale and garlic by hand to achieve a coarsely textured mixture – food processor would turn it into a mush all too quickly. In a medium bowl, mix the kale with the other chopped ingredients and lime juice. Season to taste.
To make the bruschetta, slice the bread into finger-thick slices and either grill or roast in the oven at about 180 degrees Celsius (355 F) for 10 minutes.
Lightly scrape one side of the bread with garlic. Once cool, spread a little mascarpone on each slice and top with the kale mixture. Sprinkle with olive oil.