Escarole and Beans

escarole

 

 

Using escarole as your greens in this means that this recipes comes together in about five minutes — that’s how fast the escarole cooks. The salad green also has a nice, soft bitterness and plays well with the beans, making them taste almost sweet. Don’t drain your beans! The liquid provides a creamy sauce. This is absolutely a favorite in our household — it is equally comfortable alongside pan-fried fish, a grilled steak or a hearty stew. If you were to add some sliced grilled sausage to it, you’d make this side into a main course — or just double up on amounts, warm up some crusty bread,  and make it a vegetarian main course. Even small children wanted more when we demoed this at US Botanic Garden in October 2014 so we ramped it up again for Brookside in November 2014.

2 T olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
½ t salt
½ t pepperescarole
¼ t red pepper flakes (or to taste)
3 heads escarole, rough-cut into 2- 3-inch pieces
1 can white cannellini beans
2 T shredded Parmesan

In a large pot heat oil, garlic, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes; do not let the garlic brown. Add escarole and cook down slightly. Add beans and bean liquid; turn up heat and cook until liquid begins to take on a syrupy look and beans are heated through, about 2 minutes. Remove pot from heat and sprinkle with cheese. Serve immediately.


Warm Fingerling Potato Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette

potato salad

The escarole holds up well when tossed with warm potatoes and warm dressing and its slight bitterness is pleasant when paired with robust flavors of pancetta and gouda.  You could substitute spinach for the escarole.  Smoked gouda would also make a nice change. Serve the salad warm or at room temperature. Four good-sized servings. Adapted from Fine Cooking. Demoed at Brookside March 12 and at US Botanic Garden March 13, 2014.
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