This is a traditional dish from Upstate New York, Utica Greens.
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It is a signature side dish for the Italian-Americans who live in Utica, and is commonly found in restaurants all over the area. There is even an annual Utica Greens Fest in Utica every fall, which features lots of food and art.
There are many different ways to make it, but it traditionally includes escarole, hot cherry peppers and garlic.
So when my CSA box included a huge head of escarole it was the obvious thing to make! I used prosciutto to flavor it, although you could substitute bacon, pancetta, or even add in a bunch of Italian sausage and make it more of a main dish than a side.
Hot cherry peppers are an ingredient that I don’t use all the time, but when you need them there is no substitute! The peppers are crunchy and very spicy, and are also great for using on a sandwich.
I used five of the hot peppers in this dish because my kids don’t like it too spicy, but I think it tastes better with even more. However my kids will actually have seconds of Utica greens, which is pretty much unheard of for any dish involving greens, so I make it the way they like it!
The dish is topped off with breadcrumbs and cheese, and broiled to melt the cheese and crisp up the breadcrumbs. The resulting dish is very spicy and makes a fantastic side dish to accompany dinner.
It is so fun to cook traditional favorites dishes like this that have been passed down for generations! Do you have any favorite ways to serve greens?
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- 1 head escarole
- 3 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 cup prosciutto, diced
- 1/2 cup onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 5 hot pickled cherry peppers, chopped
- 1/2 cup water
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/3 cup bread crumbs
- 1/4 cup Romano cheese, grated
- Rinse the escarole and chop into small pieces.
- Bring salted water to a boil and blanch the escarole for 2 minutes. Drain in a colander and run under cold water.
- Heat the olive oil in a frying pan. Add the proscuitto and onion and cook for about 5 minutes.
- Add the garlic and cook for another minute.
- Add the drained escarole, cherry peppers and water. Stir it all together and add a little salt and pepper if desired.
- Cook until the escarole is wilted, about 7-8 minutes.
- Sprinkle the top with bread crumbs and cheese, and stick under the broiler for 2 minutes to brown the top.
Nutrition facts are estimates.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 6
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 124Saturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 4mgSodium: 116mgCarbohydrates: 8gFiber: 2gSugar: 1gProtein: 3g