Recently, I told my friend Kate that I was headed to the store, and she asked me to get her some escarole for a dinner party we were having together the next day. I happily agreed, got several heads, and put them in the fridge for safe keeping.
She was incredibly gracious about my forgetfulness, and made her salad with arugula and mixed greens. (She makes a wonderful salad!)
Not only was I embarrassed that I forgot it, but I was also left with two large heads of escarole. Having never used it, I did some quick research and found a variety of recipes: Soup, salad, sautéed with beans, stuffed (like cabbage), and even on pizza.
|Our homegrown chiltepins with the special grinder made by the Seri Indians.|
I made a few changes based on what I had in the house. Surprisingly, two large heads of escarole weren't enough, so I augmented with spinach and kale.
I didn't have any kalamata olives on hand, so I substituted oil-cured Moroccan olives and those led me to add some preserved lemons.
|Not the preserved lemon - they didn't photograph well. (Their eyes were closed.)|
After all those greens, it seemed silly to serve it with a salad, but we did anyway: a tomato salad, which added beautiful colors to the plate.
This can be made of any combination of bitter and slightly tough greens - beet greens, kale, and so on. Try adding some nuts for texture or hard-cooked eggs for a little visual surprise. And, as many of my colleagues would say, "What isn't made better by bacon?"
3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 2-ounce tin anchovies, drained and minced
2 larges shallots, minced
3 crushed chiletpin peppers, or 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3 pounds mixed escarole, kale, and spinach, chopped into 1-inch pieces
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup pitted Moroccan oil-cured olives, chopped
zest and juice of 1 small lemon
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 ounces crumbled feta cheese
1/2 cup dried currants
2 tablespoons diced preserved Moroccan lemon
double pie crust (make two of the recipe found here.)
1 egg, lightly beaten
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil in large pot over medium-high heat. Add the anchovies, shallots and red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the escarole, spinach, kale, and salt to the pan, cover and cook until wilted – about 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the wine and cook for 1 minute. Drain the greens in a colander until cool enough to handle, then place it in a large kitchen towel and ring out excess moisture. Transfer the greens to the bowl of a food processor. Add the olives, the lemon zest, lemon juice, cinnamon, and the feta and process until finely chopped, about 30 seconds. Add the currants and preserved lemons; pulse to combine.
Roll out the bottom crust. Line a 10-inch pie plate, leaving some overhang around the edges. Brush the crust with the beaten egg, then spoon in the filling and distribute evenly. Roll out the second pie crust, top the pie, and tuck and crimp the edges with the tines of a fork. Brush the pie with the remaining 1 teaspoon olive oil, then cut three decorative leaves in the top crust to allow steam to escape. Bake until golden brown and cooked through, about 45 minutes. Allow the pie to cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing.