Tag Archives: escarole

My go-to sauteed escarole

17 Aug

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I had a nice crop of escarole in the garden this year. And no matter how hard I try to get creative with using it I always come back to this old favorite.

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In a large pan saute four or five garlic cloves, as many anchovy fillets, some hot pepper and a handful of pine nuts in olive oil, until the garlic has softened.

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This is escarole that was first chopped and blanched for around five minutes, then drained very well. As I mentioned, it’s from my garden, but I’d say it’s the equivalent of two bunches that you’d find in the supermarket. Add the blanched escarole and a little stock (I used chicken stock) and cook until the escarole is completely tender.

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It’s my favorite vegetable side dish.

Nothing even comes close.

Escarole, sausage & bean soup

27 Feb

Okay, so this isn’t the lowest-cal soup that’s come out of the kitchen this winter.

What, are you on a diet or something?

Escarole, sausage and beans are on this earth to give us pleasure. And everybody knows that they do this best when they are together.

That’s a fact, by the way. If you don’t believe me, just look it up.

So if you’re still in winter soup-making mode give this one a try. In Maine we’ll be in soup-making mode until around mid-June, so there’s still plenty of time to let me know how things turn out.

Finely dice two carrots, two celery stalks, one onion, five or six garlic cloves and a little hot pepper and saute in olive oil until softened but not browned.

Then stir in a pound of sweet Italian sausage meat.

After just a few minutes the sausage meat should be cooked enough.

At this point add 12 cups of water, one pound of thoroughly rinsed dried beans (I used a small white varietal but most any bean will do) and a piece of cheese rind (Parmigiano-Reggiano of course!). Cover the pot and allow to simmer at medium-high heat.

Cooking beans is an inexact science and so at this stage you’re kind of on your own. I did not presoak these beans (if I had they would have cooked faster), so at the one-hour mark I tested them to find they were around 45 minutes away from being done.

After another 15 minutes or so I added a full head of cleaned and chopped escarole, as well as salt and pepper to taste, then returned the cover to the pot and let things simmer for another half hour.

The total cooking time of your soup may vary but this one simmered for a little under two hours.

At which point you can have at it right away or let the soup sit in the fridge overnight and eat it the following day.

Since this batch will feed 4-6 people My Associate and I chose to do both.

Escarole & polenta pie

31 Dec

It may not look like much but few foods are more comforting to me than this one. I’ve been eating polenta with escarole since I was a boy and no matter how many times I make it, it always tastes the same. Even when it isn’t.

You know how that is.

Anyway, it’s New Year’s Eve and we’ve all got lots to do. I’ll get right to it then.

As with so many good things, start out by sauteing lots of garlic, anchovy and a little hot pepper in plenty of good olive oil.

After a couple minutes toss in your escarole and cover so that it steams a bit. This is 3 bunches of escarole here, which have been cleaned and chopped.

Making polenta is an inexact science and so go with the way you’re most comfortable. In terms of quantities for this dish, I used 1 1/3 cups of polenta and cooked it in around 7 cups of water.

Once the escarole has softened remove the lid, add some chopped kalamata olives and pine nuts, and saute another couple minutes. Salt and pepper to taste. (I’ve also had this with raisins instead of olives, which is more Sicilian style, and it’s great too. And it works without the pine nuts too.)

Assembling is a piece of cake. Just put down a layer of the polenta in a baking dish that’s been lightly coated with olive oil, so that the bottom of the pan is completely covered.

Then add the escarole, but make sure not to use very much of the liquid that’s left in the pan it sauteed in. I just scoop out the escarole with a slotted spoon.

All that’s left to do now is put down another layer of polenta, at which point cover the pan with aluminum foil and place in an oven preheated to 375 degrees F. After 30 minutes remove the foil and bake for another 15 minutes or so. The edges of the polenta should start to brown slightly. Think of it as if it’s lasagne; that’ll help figure out when it’s done.

This was in the oven close to an hour. It’s best not to cut into it immediately; let it rest at least a few minutes or more and then have at it.

I really do love this stuff.

Happy New Year everybody!