Cavolo Nero (literally "black cabbage") is one of my favourite brassicas. Actually, "cabbage" is a misnomer, because this plant is really more of a kale. It certainly lends itself to the "cut and come again" principle of harvesting which is normally used in respect of kale - and this is exactly what I have been doing just recently. I seldom harvest a whole plant, but instead pick a few leaves from several.
Back in the Summer I conducted an extensive battle against hordes of white butterflies, and the tatty state of my Cavolo Nero is testament to the fact that the campaign ended with some successes on both sides!
Anyway, as long as you don't look too closely, the Cavolo Nero is just fine - it doesn't need to look pristine, and the presence of a few holes won't alter its flavour.
One of the reasons why I picked Cavolo Nero this week is that our daughter Fiona is staying with us for a few days, and she just loves this vegetable. (You may remember that last year I posted her recipe for Kale chips...)
The leaves in my pictures above went into making one of our favourite kale recipes - Pasta in creamy garlic sauce with Cavolo Nero. If you are interested in reading about it, please follow this link to an old post of mine, in which you will find the recipe. Cavolo Nero recipe
In my garden, Cavolo Nero is treated as an Autumn crop. It bridges the gap between the Summer thingslike beans, tomatoes and cucumbers and the Winter things like Parsnips, Radicchio and Brussels Sprouts. It is pretty hardy though and will survive even the harshest Winters in the UK.
If you are a regular reader of my blog you will know that this year I have grown two varieties of Cavolo Nero - one generic one and one named variety ("Black Magic"). I have to say that the Black Magic one seems far superior, in my opinion. Taste-wise it is hard for me to say which is best, since we have eaten the two mixed together, but appearance-wise, and in terms of vigour it wins easily.