Black kale, seductive lardo, and fragrant black summer truffle slices served on crostini scented with a subtle olive oil, garlic, basil and anchovy paste.  These appetizers are as much about flavor as they are about delicious aromas.

Kale Lardo and Black Truffle Crostini |

Recalling a questionable sugar fueled decision I recently made, I needed a little cheering up.  It’s so easy to overspend on photography equipment with Amazon Prime.

One or two clicks and you’ve gone down the rabbit hole.

You know how it goes.

So, the plan to cheer myself up ended up being that we would head over to our local Italian butcher and pick up my fav porky meat, thinly sliced lardo.

While we’re at it, what the heck, let’s pick up a little Tuscan kale, a black truffle and have ourselves an impromptu appetizer party.

Lock the doors.  Lower the blinds.  Let’s have some crostini.

Lardo, Duchess of Pork

Lardo is an Italian pork lover’s dream; a melt in your mouth, creamy, succulent, aged pork fat revelation.   Sliced very thin, lardo becomes a nearly transparent salumi (or charcuterie for our Francophile friends) which tastes delicious on grilled crostini with lacinato kale, as part of an antipasti platter, or in a pasta dish served with anchovy and tomatoes.

Scented with rosemary, garlic and a number of other spices, the original Lardo di Colannato is made by carefully aging pork fat in marble tubs during late fall and winter months.  There are many producers of lardo in the US, with others in Italy and Spain so this gives you several choices for buying lardo online.

Here in New York, prices range greatly between $30 and $60 per pound.  Other than a large catering event I can’t imagine wanting to purchase more than 1/4 pound of lardo at one time.  Most of the time we have leftovers that we use for another meal and then pick at it during the week.

Kale Lardo and Black Truffle Crostini |
Kale Lardo and Black Truffle Crostini |

Black Summer Truffles

Black summer truffles are a subtly fragrant dark colored truffle available from May to September.  Not as intense as the black winter truffle, summer truffles are perfect on their own accord.

Shave or grate them onto warm sauteed kale atop grilled crostini.  The perfume released is fantastic and when you go in for your first bite you’ll get a fragrant combination of the spices in the lardo and the truffles.

If you haven’t yet decided that you love truffles, as we predict that you will, the summer varietal of black truffles are an excellent and affordable place to start.  We’re able to purchase this type of truffle for just about an ounce in weight for less that $25.

You don’t need much, just a shaving or two of black truffle for each crostino.

Also, pictured below is a truffle slicer, which probably looks familiar.  Slicers are handheld tools outfitted with a very sharp adjustable blade.  This allows you to shave very thin slices from truffles which are oftentimes the size of a walnut.  Using a knife, you couldn’t as easily get quickly shaved slices like this handy little tool can give you.

black summer truffle and truffle slicer |

If you have any leftover, truffles shaved or grated with a microplane over a hot risotto or scrambled eggs are insanely delicious.

Store your leftover truffle in a covered container filled with rice and use the next morning shaved on top of scrambled eggs – which is exactly what we’re having for breakfast this morning as I write this.  As the truffle shavings hit the warm eggs their truffley fragrance is released.

Kale Lardo and Black Truffle Crostini |
Kale Lardo and Black Truffle Crostini |

Lardo and truffles of any type and seasonal variety and origin can be found online.  In New York we have quite a few high-quality Italian butcher shops which have stood the test of time, and a handful of newer shops that are likewise very good.

Visiting our favorite butcher, having a brief chat about their recommendation that day, watching them carefully slice the lardo onto butcher paper and weigh it on the scale, is almost the best part of putting something like these crostini together.

Italian butcher counter |
Kale, Lardo and Black Truffle Crostini
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 6
  • 4 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 anchovy fillets
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 12 basil leaves
  • ⅛ teaspoon peperoncino flakes
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • 6 slices Italian sesame seed bread
  • 2 cups fresh Italian kale
  • ⅛ lb lardo, thinly sliced
  • 1 black truffle, shaved thin
  1. Turn on oven broiler and preheat.
  2. Heat sauté pan over medium heat. When hot add olive oil.
  3. Add anchovy fillets to hot oil. Using a wooden spoon, break apart the anchovies. They'll practically dissolve in a minute or two of sauteing in hot oil.
  4. Add garlic, cook for 30 seconds. Add chopped basil and peperoncino flakes and cook for another two minutes.
  5. Remove from heat.
  6. Brush each bread slice with oil, anchovy, garlic mixture.
  7. Place under broiler and grill for a minute or two until lightly browned. Keep an eye on your broiler things can go wrong pretty quickly.
  8. Remove from broiler and set aside.
  9. Meanwhile, wash kale leaves and remove the tough stems. Fold each kale leaf in half lenght wise and slice into ½ inch ribbons. S
  10. Saute kale for 1 to 2 minutes in preheated saute pan using a tablespoon of olive oil and a pinch of salt. Once wilted, remove from heat.
  11. Arrange kale on grilled crostini. Layer with lardo slices. Shave black summer truffle over the top of your crostini.
  12. Sprinkle one or two red peperoncino flakes.
Lardo is a unique salumi. It's definitely not lard, but an aged and cured cut of pork back fat. It's difficult to suggest a substitution for lardo, but if you're unable to find an Italian butcher that carries it, try using another cured meat like capicola or bresaola. Both have delicious flavor, a deep red color, and would be excellent choices for a kale crostini.

Lacinato kale is a dark and slender green leaf kale popular in Italian cuisine. Sometimes called black or Tuscan kale.