Escarole- Just Saute or Blanch and Saute?

Batali does the latter but I really don't like blanching- waste of energy, water, nutrients imo. One other recipe just sautes it, ~ 10 minutes . I'm working on an Italian escarole pie w/ garlic, anchovy, capers, currants, pine nuts, in case anyone has a great recipe. I'm a little stumped because the 2 recipes i like- have no eggs or binder! ricotta in batali, no cheese in the other, which is 2-crusted. ( I had conceived of this filling with some parm and a little egg. I def don't want ricotta; it wasn't in the long- ago dish I'm trying to replicate.) Thx for your thoughts on this!

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5 Comments

Nancy December 24, 2018
The give-away (the tell in poker) was the combination of anchovy, capers, currants, and pine nuts...classic Sicilian ingredients.
Here are two recipes, for Sicilian Escarole Pie, one classic with anchovies, one for vegetarians without. No ricotta. Does this sound like what you used to eat?
https://www.epicurus.com/food/recipes/sicilian-escarole-pie-pasticcio-di-scarola/40824/
https://cookingwithnonna.com/italian-cuisine/escarole-pie.html
 
LE B. December 24, 2018
nancy, you and the others have been so helpful. i love learning! i hope to eventually report on this venture. i now think i will make 3 kinds- small, as there are only two of us, and using a short dough with whole grain flours! :
- the anchovy version, w/o olives
- the anchovy version, w/o olives, plus some parm and a little beaten egg
-the anchovy version, w/o olives, plus some parm and a little beaten egg, and minced cooked swordfish with evoo, herbs, lemon zest and juice.
( a riff on my idol Paula Wolfert's recipe for Swordfish Involtini in her
cookbook. Paula Wolfert's World of Food: A collection of recipes from her kitchen, travels, and friends Hardcover – 1988

https://www.amazon.com/Paula-Wolferts-world-food-collection/dp/0060159553/ref=sr_1_11?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1545684269&sr=1-11&keywords=paula+wolfert+cookbooks
best and thank youall again, mindy
 
Ralph December 23, 2018
I also disdain blanching most times but in making pizza escarola you'll find that blanching helps to better manage the water content of the escarole. You want the greens cooked but not overcooked, oily not watery. In my family, from the village of Cassandrino outside Napoli, this double-crusted savory pie had a very simple recipe:

3 bunches of escarole
1 can of pitted black olives
18 capers, chopped
1 can flat anchovy fillets
8 cloves of garlic
salt, pepper, red pepper flakes--all to taste
Olive oil

Fry the greens and olives until greens achieve desired consistency. Add anchovies and capers, fry until anchovies dissolve. Add garlic, fry until beginning to turn golden. Remove from heat, add salt, pepper and flakes to taste.

Allow to cool, then stuff into your favorite pizza dough recipe, leaving enough dough to cover the top.

Bake as you would your favorite bread or pizza. Allow to cool. ENJOY!

Helpful Crazy Italian tip: Mom used to make these in big numbers, often 24 bunches of escarole at a time. The TOUGHEST part of this recipe is making sure the greens are completely clean and free of grit. Mom's solution? She saved those mesh nylon bags of oranges and other produce, filled them with loosened escarole leaves and sent them through a wash cycle of cold wash/cold rinse--no soap. Works beautifully!
 
amysarah February 2, 2016
I love escarole - actually more than most trendier greens. I never blanch first, just directly into the saute pan (or soup pot, if that's what's happening.)
 
scruz February 2, 2016
years ago i had an italian neighbor. her cooking was fabulous. she would hand cut tiny diamond pastas, make her own salami, breaded sweet breads, rabbit, etc. anyway, we used to go out to the field to pick a member of the wild mustard family, similar to rapini. with any bitter green she would blanche first to take out the bitterness. it seemed to work really well. i think i would follow the recipe. i know what you mean about the extra step. save the water and throw on your herb garden!
 
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