Escarole with Prosciutto, Hot Peppers, Grated Parmesan Cheese, and Breadcrumbs! This dish can be eaten as a side, appetizer, or as the main course. It’s spicy, salty, and absolutely delicious.
Let's Get Started
Take your heads of escarole and chop into bite sized pieces. Place it in a colander or in a clean sink and rinse really well. Dirt gets trapped on the leaves and there’s nothing worse than taking a bite and getting grit in there. Let it soak and clean the leaves with your hands as you get a 10-12 qt pot of water to boil.
Utica Greens (Escarole with Proscuitto, Hot Peppers, Grated Cheese, and Breadcrumbs)
- 2 large heads escarole or any greens that you like; kale, swiss chard, etc
- 6 to 8 cloves garlic minced
- 4 tablespoons olive oil plus 1 tablespoon
- 2 to 4 cherry hot peppers to taste, chopped/not seeded*
- ⅓ pound of prosciutto - or whole container of diced Italian ham - They sell diced prosciutto at Wegmans
- ½ cup breadcrumbs plus 2 tablespoons for topping toasted
- ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese or pecorino romano my preference plus 2 tablespoons for topping
- ¼ cup chicken stock
- salt and pepper to taste
- Cut off and discard the hard bottom stem from each head of escarole
- Rough chop into pieces
- Wash the pieces of escarole thoroughly, remove any damaged leaves (I place in a clean sink and let soak)
- Place escarole in 12 quart stock pot and fill with enough water to cover greens
- Bring to a boil and cook until tender, about 10 minutes (some of the greens are cooked until the greens are extremely wilted and some people prefer it that way - cook to your liking, I prefer the greens better cooked)
- Drain escarole very well, press out all water/broth from greens, and set aside
- In a large saute pan, heat olive oil over medium heat
- Add hot peppers until softened, about 3 or 4 minutes, then add garlic and prosciutto and cook until fragrant, about 1 to 2 minutes more.
- Add the cooked and drained greens to pan and stir to combine. You have to slightly break apart the wet greens so it mixes in with the other ingredients
- Finish by combining ½ cup toasted breadcrumbs, ¼ cup grated cheese, and 1 tablespoon of olive oil then add all but 2 to 4 tablespoons to the greens. (reserve the 2 to 4 tablespoons to top the dish)
- Add enough chicken broth to moisten the greens but not saturate them, and then taste and adjust salt and pepper
- Place greens in an over-safe casserole, top with reserved breadcrumbs and cheese
- Place casserole under broiler for 4 to 6 minutes until brown checking frequently, until the top is browned.
- Serve before dinner, as a side or eat by itself!