Thursday, November 4, 2010

Greens Morelli (Utica Greens)

Garlicky, greens, baby. It's a Utica thang! This dish is a VERY popular Italo-American side dish where I grew up in New York.  Great as a side, topping for a steak sandwich or meatball sub, stuffed in chicken, pork, or leftovers can be tossed in to make a frittata in the morning!  These greens, actually, blossoms as they sit, so I think the leftovers are even better the next day!  This is a staple dish on EVERY Italian restaurant menu in my hometown.  Now, from my kitchen to yours, I share with you. Delizioso, tutti!

·        3 heads of escarole(rinsed)
·        2 tablespoons of olive oil
·        2 cloves of garlic (pushed through a garlic press)
·        5-8 Hot cherry peppers (roughly chopped; quantity depending on how much heat you like)
·        5 or 6 slices of Prosciutto, torn into 2 inch pieces
·        1 cup of plain bread crumbs, (not Italian.)
·        1 cup of artichoke hearts (quartered)
·        2 cups of mini portobello mushrooms, (quartered)
·        ¼ cup of grated cheese (Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano Reggiano) optional, but who doesn’t love cheese??

1. Cut the bottom of each escarole head, and chop into large (4 square-inch sized) pieces.  Steam the escarole in a wire basket over a large pot of boiling water (2 inches of water) for about 7-8 minutes, or until limp and still a bit firm.  It will reduce greatly as it steams. (Do not boil the escarole, as it may get to mushy)
2. Meanwhile, in a 12 in skillet, crisp the prosciutto, first.  Next, add the hot cherry peppers, artichokes, mushrooms, and garlic on low heat in the 2 tablespoons of olive oil
3. Next, with tongs, remove the escarole from the wire basket and add it to the sauté and toss, turning quite a bit so the ingredients incorporate.
4. Sprinkle in the bread crumbs liberally and toss, thoroughly.  (The breadcrumbs give a nice, fuller- bodied texture you want.)
5. Sprinkle in the grated cheese and toss again.
6.  Let sit for at least 15 minutes, so the dish can blossom. 


  1. Okay, Cathi, Ima gonna have to try, as per my FB message....curious. This sounds like something I'd devour. Question though; you mention "do not boil the romaine"....huh? Are you calling the top portion of the escarole 'romaine'? I'm going to go with that, since romaine isn't in the list of ingredients. (why would it be?) And is there a root end one should discard before chopping bottoms? Does this serve about 6 as a side? Grazie!

  2. For the life of me, I can't figure out why I wrote "romaine??" The only thing I can think, is that sometimes people add a little a little romaine to the escarole to "extend" the dish. It's kind of similar in texture and flavor once it is mixed up in the recipe. Oh, and yep, as with any lettuce, or leaves, discard that stump! :-) I just made some tonight!!! Oh, and they actually taste better left over because it has more of a chance to "blossom." Try putting some in a frittata for breakfast! Awesome!! Add some potatoes in there too.. -Cath