If you don’t already know, green vegetables are without a doubt the single best thing you can put in your body. Green vegetables and water, that is. Yes, you’ve gotta have water too.
Yes, green veggies are quite healthy. Italians love all sorts, other vegetables and fruits too. And they prepare their vegetables in a multitude of ways.
Italians, and especially Italian-Americans, love our green vegetables, and we really love greens, like; Broccoli Rabe (Rapini) and Escarole, or Scarola. Any green vegetables that are simply sautéed in garlic and olive oil are great favorites. Along with being immensely beneficial to good health, looking good, and tasting great, these sautéed greens are quick and easy to prepare.
Sautéed greens are the perfect accompaniment to any meat, fish, or poultry entrée and are great on their own or with other ingredients in an antipasto or as bruschetta on grilled or toasted Italian bread. You can prepare Broccoli Rabe, Escarole, Swiss Chard, Green Beans, Broccoli, Spinach, or Beet Greens all in this manner.
Escarole, in Italian the word is “scarola.” In the Italian American dialect of my father’s generation the word is usually pronounced,”Schka-role.” Few are the young people these days that have ever even heard the word and I wonder how many have ever tasted this leafy green that many of us love so. “Schka-role” is of singular importance in the Italian-American cuisine. In the pantheon of Italian-American foods, escarole is way up there, along with Broccoli Rabe and Eggplant (melanzane). Escarole finds itself in soups, in recipes with beans and in stuffed versions, and sometimes on pizza.
In our family, my sister Barbara and I are the ones who love sautéed escarole most. It’s simply sautéed with garlic, good olive oil, salt & pepper and “Basta,” that’s it, it’s done and it’s tasty as heck. This sautéed escarole is our favorite side-dish with roast chicken, pork chops, steak, and grilled fish.
One of the best uses ever for “Scarola” is in the whimsical Southern-Italian soup, Italian Wedding Soup with chicken broth, chicken, little meatballs and escarole, “It’s just divine.”
And did you know? “Scarola,” is slang for “Money” in Italian, as in “That car cost a lot of “Schka-Role!”
2 heads escarole washed and roughly chopped
7 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper, ¼ cup olive oil
1. Blanch escarole in boiling salted water for 2 minutes. Drain off water. Drain again and squeeze excess water from Escarole.
2. Sauté garlic in oil until it just begins to brown.
3. Add red pepper and escarole. Sauté escarole over medium heat for about 6 minutes. Season with Salt and black pepper and serve.
Excerpted from SUNDAY SAUCE by Daniel Bellino-Zwicke
SAUTEED ESCAROLE and Other Recipes in Daniel Bellino-Zwicke 's SUNDAY SAUCE
SECRET ITALIAN RECIPES
in SEGRETO ITALIANO