In any selection of offerings on the holiday menu, a cook should always sneak in a couple of no-stress side dishes. Sautéed escarole with garlic and parmesan cheese is easy on the cook, yet absolutely worthy of a place at the table. One of the antioxidant-rich dark leafy greens, escarole plays a starring role in Italian vegetable soups and stews, but here it's the star of its own show. Cooking in olive oil softens the leaves and mellows the bitterness that's common to many dark greens. Add garlic and real Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, and a few red pepper flakes for fun, and you have a simple, yet stunning, side dish. Make this at the very last minute, before you're ready to serve.
Sautéed escarole with garlic and parmesan cheese
Serves 4-6; can be multiplied.
8 cups roughly chopped escarole (2 small heads)
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, slivered
1/4 to 1/2 tsp mild red pepper flakes, to taste
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp fresh black pepper
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, or more to taste
Wash the escarole in a bowl of cold water, and spin dry in a salad spinner, leaving a little bit of water on the greens.
In a very large frying pan, heat the oil over medium-low heat. Sauté the garlic for 30 seconds, to infuse the oil.
Add the escarole, in batches if necessary, stirring gently until the hot oil begins to wilt the greens. When all of the escarole is in the pan, toss in the red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.
Cover the pot, reduce heat to low, and cook for 5 minutes, until the greens are wilted and soft.
Transfer the escarole to a serving dish, and top immediately with grated cheese.
More super side dishes with dark leafy greens:
Boerenkool (kale with mashed potatoes), from The Perfect Pantry
Kale salad with mushrooms and mustard vinaigrette, from The Perfect Pantry
Saag aloo (potatoes with spiced spinach), from The Perfect Pantry
Escarole and spinach with olives, capers, anchovy and preserved lemon, from Former Chef
Chick peas and escarole, from Mele Cotte
Goat cheese and arugula pizza, from Shutterbean
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