I am not a huge fan of greens- big, leafy, very healthy, pretty but often bitter greens. So, when my produce delivery uncovered an enormous head of escarole, I heaved a heavy sigh. But, determined not to waste and wanting to try something new, I went on my usual internet recipe search. And ahoy! I think I found a winner. I was pretty sure that it would at least be edible as you could probably add these delicious ingredients to an old leather shoe and still choke it down.
I found this escarole recipe on Epicurious, which involved fried shallots and prunes. Although I had neither shallots nor prunes, a quick survey of my kitchen turned up a few leftover dates and garlic. I adjusted the recipe slightly and shaved on some cheese for good measure.
Now, THESE are greens I could get used to.
Escarole with Fried Garlic, Dates and Cheese
adapted from Gourmet, February 2003
1 cup olive oil
1/2 cup garlic, very thinly sliced
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup finely chopped pitted dates or prunes
1 head escarole (1 lb), tough ribs and outer leaves discarded and inner leaves and tender ribs cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-wide strips (8 cups)
Parmesan or other hard cheese, shaved on top
Heat oil in a 1-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat until hot but not smoking, then fry garlic, stirring frequently and being careful not to burn, until light brown. It goes quickly! Transfer garlic with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain. (It will be crisp as it cools.) Transfer 3 tablespoons garlic/olive oil from pan to a cup for dressing and reserve remainder for another use.
Whisk together lemon juice, salt, and pepper in a large bowl, then add shallot oil in a slow stream, whisking until combined. Add dates, escarole, half of garlic and salt to taste, then toss well to coat. Sprinkle with remaining shallots and shaved cheese.