Kale and Onion Polenta Crostini

by Michele Pesula Kuegler | November 24th, 2010 | Appetizers, Recipes, Tapas Monday

Before this past Tapas Monday, I had never cooked kale before.  I remember one of my childhood friends complaining about its constant presence at the dinner table thanks to her parents’ garden, but it was a veggie I had not been served or had cooked.  Seeing that it’s a leafy vegetable, I decided I’d cook it like other greens.  As I learned that evening, kale is a hardier vegetable than spinach or chard.

We purchased purple kale when we were on a regular trip to the farmstand.  Knowing it would not be popular with the kids, my husband suggested we make it part of our Monday dinner for two, which seemed like a good plan.  Most weeks we make tapas-style dishes for this meal, and this week was no different.  However, this lead to the challenge of how to make kale into a tapas-style dish.

After reviewing several options in my mental files, I decided to wilt the kale and turn it into a topping for crostini.  For so many of our dishes, I use flatbread as the base for our crostini and wanted to make this dish different.  That was a good decision on my part, as the kale has more weight and substance and would overpower a thin cracker.  The polenta worked well, as it was thick enough to provide its own texture and flavor to the crostini.  With a layer of caramelized onions between the polenta and the kale and a layer of fresh mozzarella over the kale, it was a multitude of flavors and textures.

Kale and Onion Polenta Crostini


  1. olive oil
  2. 1/2 lb. kale, stem removed
  3. salt & pepper
  4. firm polenta (storebought or homemade)
  5. 1 onion, caramelized
  6. fresh mozzarella
  1. Heat olive oil in a large frying pan, then add kale.
  2. Sauté for 5-10 minutes.  If kale is not tender, add 1/2 cup of water, cover, and simmer.
  3. Check every 5 minutes or until kale is tender.
  4. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Cut polenta into slices no more than one inch thick
  6. Top each slice with caramelized onion, kale, and one or two mozzarella slices.
  7. Place under broiler for 1 minute, or until cheese melts.
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