Today, I would like to give some credence to escarole. It’s a New Year and I wanted to try something new, not just fall back on spinach or kale, my go-to’s in most recipes with leafy greens. In the same category as endive and frisee; not really a lettuce, as it appears at first glance, but a chicory! A nutrient dense leaf-like veg, loaded with vitamin A and a good source of iron and potassium.
I have only shared only 2 recipes featuring escarole in all this time blogging. First was this fabulous Escarole with Sausage and White Beans. The second an ode to the Upstate New York favorite Utica Greens. Both quick, easy and delicious but quite similar.
To move in a different direction I decided to whip up a soup, with escarole as the star. It’s hearty enough to be a leading player that does not dominate the whole dish. Simmered quickly, it becomes silky and translucent with varying shades of green.
Sometimes it can be hard to locate at the grocery store, it’s not usually found with other chicories or even near radicchio. You can usually spot it nestled up between all the leafy green lettuces, if that helps.
Here’s to 2019, and different vegetable choices.
- 1 1/2 - 2 small heads of escarole, roughly chopped and well rinsed
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes - optional
- 2 cans cannelllini beans, separated
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
- 3 stalks of celery, chopped
- 5 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 or more of freshly grated parmesan or romano cheese
Blend 1 can of the drained beans with 1 cup of stock and set aside.
In a large pot over medium heat add the olive oil, garlic, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper, carrots, celery, escarole and cook until the escarole has wilted. About 3-4 minutes.
Add the pureed bean/stock mixture, and second can of drained rinsed beans, bring to boil then reduce heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed.
Ladle into warmed bowls and garnish with grated cheese/ or cheese replacement if desired.