This is a non-recipe recipe where basically you can adjust the savory and spicy components to suit you and your guests' tastes. You may also choose to swap the arugula for spinach, chard, kale, or even radish or mustard greens into this universally savory dish. This version of wilted greens is one of my trusty go-to's and is seriously packed with flavor.
A note about bread crumbs: I often have stale bread cut into cubes at the ready (stored in a jar) to pummel with my mortar and pestle into coarse crumbs. Fried bread crumbs are great on lots of things, this recipe in particular. —Melina Hammer
2 side servings
3 to 5
anchovy fillets and oil from the can (if using canned anchovies)
Extra-virgin olive oil or bacon fat (if not using canned anchovies)
3 to 5
cloves roasted garlic
red pepper flakes
In This Recipe
In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, either add the oil from the anchovies or pour in enough olive oil or bacon fat to evenly coat the bottom of the pan.
Add the anchovies and once they begin to sizzle, mash them with the bag of a fork so that they melt into the oil. Add the roasted garlic and mash it up as well.
Add the arugula into the pan in handfuls, dragging them through the anchovy-garlic mixture to coat. Don't be alarmed if the greens initially overflow from the pan. They will collapse a good deal as they wilt, which should take about 3 minutes. Once wilted, add the pepper flakes and toss until well incorporated.
Transfer the wilted greens to a platter or plates. In the same saucepan, lower the heat to medium and add in a little more anchovy or olive oil. Add the bread crumbs and give them an initial stir to absorb the fat.
Cook the bread crumbs until they are nicely browned, stirring occasionally, about 2 minutes. Transfer them to a dish to serve along side the wilted leaves.
When she's not writing, cooking, styling, and shooting her forthcoming cookbook - out Spring 2022 with Ten Speed Press - Melina makes food look its best for the New York Times, Eating Well, Edible, and other folks who are passionate about real food. She grows heirloom+native plants and forages wild foods at her Hudson Valley getaway, Catbird Cottage. There, Melina prepares curated menus to guests seeking community, amidst the robust flavors of the seasons.