"Things won are done,
Joy's Soul lies in the Doing."
- William Shakespeare

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

A Good Green

In my ongoing search for ways to feed greens to the family - without disguising their "green-ness" - I try many things.  Sautéing, soups, frittatas...you name it.  They usually get eaten, too.  Sometimes with not too much fuss...but often with very little enthusiasm.  You see, I am the only member of my crew that truly enjoys greens.  The Mister and Kiddos...they tolerate them. 

Just the other night, though...I accidentally discovered a very good green.  Or rather, a very good way of preparing a green we've eaten in the past.  It's so darn easy, and so incredibly tasty, that should you find yourself with a nice, large head of escarole, you really must make it.  Escarole is one green to which I haven't had much exposure.  I made this salad, last fall, which was definitely lovely.  But we are on the verge of a rebellion around these parts, should I serve up one more salad, and call it dinner.  (Fortunately, I'm great at quashing rebellion.)  So, I did the obvious - sautéed that escarole with garlic and red pepper flakes, and served it up as bruschetta. 

This really isn't an earth-shatteringly new recipe, not by a long shot.  Many greens may be prepared this way, as can broccoli rabe.  Escarole, though, my friends, is perfectly divine atop a crusty slice of peasant bread.  And the family loved it.

Here you go:

Bruschetta of Sautéed Escarole
 - serves four

1 large head escarole, washed well
2 cloves garlic, very thinly sliced
olive oil
red pepper flakes
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
lemon juice, from half a lemon
grated parmigiano, or another hard, salty cheese
loaf of pain de campagne, or some type of crusty peasant bread, thickly sliced

Slice the head of escarole in half, lengthwise, from tip to core.  Then slice each half into ribbons, crosswise, about 3/4 of an inch thick.  Allow the escarole to remain somewhat dewy with water, rather than drying thoroughly.  This will help to cook it, and become a bit of a sauce for your bread.

In a large sauté pan, over a moderately low heat, warm a bit of olive oil, with your sliced garlic and a pinch of red pepper flakes, just until you begin to smell the aroma of garlic.  Turn the heat to medium high, and add the escarole, stirring to intersperse the garlic.  Season with salt and pepper.  As the escarole wilts down, keep turning it, to cook the entire bunch evenly.  This takes only a few minutes.  Cook until the texture pleases you.  I liked mine with just a bit of crunch remaining in the stalk.  Turn off the heat and squeeze the lemon juice over.  Check the seasoning, and add more salt and pepper if necessary, remembering that the parmigiano will add salt as well.

You may go traditional, with your bread, and toast it, then rub with half a clove of garlic.  Or, like me, you can simply serve it sliced, to allow those gorgeous pan juices to soak in and flavor it.  Top the bread with the escarole and a spoonful of pan juices, drizzle with a little olive oil, and finally, the grated cheese.

Now, go eat your greens.

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