Garlic Buttered Crostini with Rustic Kale Pesto

by Lynne on November 1, 2010

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Crostini with Rustic Kale Pesto 1

If you like garlic, this is the food of the Garlic Gods. I adore garlic, so when I eat these garlic-butter-slathered toasted crostini liberally spread with the garlic-y kale and olive oil pesto, I am transported to heaven. Every time I make this, that first bite stops me in my tracks, as I savor the flavor of the hearty earthy green kale with the garlic butter. OMG. Mmmm…

These Kale Pesto Crostini are a perfect appetizer for your holiday feast. It’s one of those where the guests just sort of stand around the platter, chewing and not talking. Until all the crostini are gone. They are also good with a bowl of rustic vegetable soup, or, if you are like me, you make a bunch of them and eat them for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Which I did tonight while I was typing up this post. So inspiring.

Crostini with Rustic Kale Pesto 2

Kale is a form of cabbage, green or purple, in which the central leaves do not form a head. The species Bressica oleracea also contains broccoli, cauliflower, collard greens and brussels sprouts. It is considered a highly nutritious vegetable and is very high in beta carotene, Vitamin K, Vitamin C, lutein, zeaxanthin and calcium. It contains a chemical believed to have potent anti-cancer properties, boosts DNA repair in cells, and is an antioxidant.

Until the end of the middle ages, kale was one of the most common green vegetables in all of Europe. Russian kale was introduced into the US. by Russian traders, via Canada, in the 19th century. Kale is a main ingredient in the national dishes of several countries. In Ireland it’s mixed with mashed potatoes to make Colcannon. In Portugal it’s combined with potatoes and sausage to make the soup Caldo Verde. In Scotland, kale provided such a base for a traditional diet that the word in dialect Scots is synonymous with food.

A whole culture has developed in north-western Germany, where there are social clubs that visit country inns to consume large quantities of boiled kale, Mettworst and Schnapps. Most communities in the area have a yearly kale festival which includes naming a “Kale King” (or queen).

Crostini with Rustic Kale Pesto 3

When you boil the half pound of kale leaves, less the center ribs, they reduce in volume to about the size of a handball. I use my mini food processor for this job and it works perfectly. Sometimes I get kale that is a thicker variety and while it tastes the same, it requires a little longer cooking and a little more olive oil added to the processor to make the mixture the right spreadable consistency. If you are not a garlic freak like me, use only 1/4 tablespoon of minced garlic in the pesto, instead of the full monty ½ tablespoon. I hope you try this. It’s fabulous.

Crostini with Rustic Kale Pesto 4

Print Recipe Print Recipe

Crostini with Rustic Kale Pesto

5 servings

1/2 pound fresh kale, (1 bunch) center ribs discarded, leaves coarsely chopped
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
¼ – ½ tablespoon minced garlic

5 tablespoons salted butter
½ tablespoon minced garlic

Ten ½-inch-thick diagonal slices cut from a baguette of sourdough bread

1. Bring a large sauce pan of water to a boil over high heat. Add the kale, cover and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Test a little bite to make sure it is quite soft. Drain and refresh under cold water. Using your hands, squeeze as much moisture as possible from the kale.

2. In a mini food processor combine the kale, salt, olive oil and ¼ to ½ tablespoon garlic, per your taste. Process until smooth, scraping down the bowl once or twice. Add up to two tablespoon additional olive oil if necessary if it is dry. (The pesto can be made several hours ahead and kept covered in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before serving.)

3. In a small bowl, melt the salted butter with the remaining ½ tablespoon garlic in the microwave on high for 55 seconds. Toast the bread in a toaster. With a pastry brush, brush one side of each toast liberally with the garlic butter. Cut each toast in half if desired. Spread each buttered side of toast with some of the kale pesto and serve immediately.

Note: The Kale Pesto will keep, refrigerated, for 4 days. But make the crostini fresh each day. They’re not tasty reheated. The garlic butter will keep 3 days in a closed container and can be reheated.

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The Week-ender: Nov. 6, 2010 |
November 6, 2010 at 8:04 am

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Nuts about food November 2, 2010 at 4:52 am

Loved the additional info and history about kale. The crostini look absolutely scrumptious.

Carolyn Jung November 2, 2010 at 9:12 am

Lovely and simple, and perfect for a holiday gathering. Plus, I love how it’s one appetizer that’s actually good for you, too.

Lentil Breakdown November 2, 2010 at 11:36 am

Interesting history tidbits. I think a soup pistou with your kale pesto instead of basil would be good.

Nancy@acommunaltable November 2, 2010 at 1:10 pm

Hi Lynne!!

Interesting facts about kale!!! I have a friend who is a kale addict and I know is going to LOVE this appetizer – which I of course will be making for her at our next gathering!!

marla {family fresh cooking} November 2, 2010 at 7:53 pm

I love when healthy kale is put to such great use. Nice that you can use it for a party or anytime with this flavorful recipe! xo

Andrea @ Fork Fingers Chopsticks November 2, 2010 at 7:57 pm

Will the kale keep the bright green color after a few days?

Lynne November 2, 2010 at 8:14 pm

Hi Andrea ~ The raw kale says bright green for at least 48 hours. That is the longest I’ve kept it before cooking it. As for the pesto, I can only vouch for 24 hours, because it all got devoured within that time. Lynne xo

Monet November 2, 2010 at 9:25 pm

I just loved seeing that “handball” of kale! You do such a good job with your posts. Not only are your pictures intriguing and beautiful, but you always pack your writing with interesting information. Thank you for sharing both your recipe and a bit of the history of one of my favorite winter greens!

Louise November 2, 2010 at 9:31 pm

you are so cute, i can imagine you sitting alone savoring the first bite… im just like that too. great idea for kale-
have a great week,

sippitysup November 3, 2010 at 8:15 am

Now if this doesn’t get people to eat their greens nothing will. GREG

Joanne November 3, 2010 at 2:14 pm

I am on a serious kale fix at the moment so you have no idea just how appealing this looks to me! I will definitely be trying it out with my next batch. On some homemade ciabatta…moan. Can’t wait.

polwig November 4, 2010 at 7:42 am

I don’t think Kale ever made it to Polish Cusine, weird since it is sandwitched between Russia and Germany. I can’t find a right translation so maybe it did…. Personally I don’t eat much kale and I think I only had it once or twice in my life… definately need to revisit especially since I LOVE all cabbage.

My Man's Belly November 4, 2010 at 10:48 am

Call in the kale!

We started eating this last year and haven’t stopped yet. This recipe of yours will ensure that it’s always on hand. And bring on the garlic!!!!

Louisa November 6, 2010 at 2:44 pm

This sounds wonderful, and is quite similar to a dish a Tuscan friend makes. He doesn’t blitz the kale, but squeezes out the water and just eats it on top of crostini with garlic and olive oil.

If you love kale, check out! (it’s not my website; I’m just a fan)

Victoria June 14, 2012 at 9:28 am

Got linked to your beautiful blog via FoodGawker…such lovely recipes and photos! Will definitely be a follower and pull inspiration from your blog to mine 🙂

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