I love the ease of quickly sauteing greens in the skillet but often find they need a boost of flavor and texture. That’s where tasty, crunchy breadcrumbs come in. They are so simple to put together (and can be made in the same skillet right before the escarole is cooked) and I think they take this dish from good to awesome.
If you aren’t familiar with escarole, it is a bitter green related to endive. As a side note: I found our escarole only slightly bitter, but I am sure it varies. It is high in Vitamins A, K and in folate. Check out this link to learn more about the nutritional benefits of this green.
This is more of a idea than an exact recipe as you can vary it in so many ways. I think the base of olive oil, bread crumbs and garlic is key but otherwise, you can take from or add almost anything. You can add a bunch of fresh parsley or basil at the end. To make it a meal, serve it with white beans, pasta or over polenta. I topped it with Parmesan but I think Pecorino would be a better choice as it would stand up to the other flavors a bit more.
Quick Sauteed Escarole with Flavorful Breadcrumbs
makes 3-4 servings as a side dish
Recipe note: you probably only need about 1/2 to 3/4 cup of breadcrumbs if you using it just to top the greens. I would use a full cup if you are planning to mix the greens with pasta, beans or polenta. I used 3 small pieces of bread to get 1 cup of breadcrumbs.
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup fresh breadcrumbs (see note)
- 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1-2 anchovy filets, minced (optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 small heads of escarole, sliced 1/2″ thick crosswise, well cleaned and drained
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Shaved Parmesan or Pecorino for serving
- Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a 12″ non-stick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add the breadcrumbs and toss to combine. Stir often, until the breadcrumbs are crunchy and browned all over, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, anchovy, if using and red pepper flakes. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate and set aside.
- Once cooled slightly, wipe out any excess breadcrumbs from the skillet and return to the stovetop. Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add the escarole, salt and pepper and cook, stirring often, until wilted and cooked but it still retains a little crunch, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a serving dish and top with breadcrumbs and cheese.