Utica Greens

This Italian-American dish is from upstate New York and is great example of ethnic immigrant communities, in this case Italians, adapting local ingredients to create dishes similar to the old country. This interesting side dish is a flavorful combination of Roman favorites like fresh escarole, pickled cherry peppers, prosciutto ham, and Pecorino-Romano cheese. It makes sense that a Roman influenced dish would be found in American cities with names like Syracuse, Rome, and Utica.

Utica Greens

Utica Greens are a nice accompaniment to grilled or roasted meats and chicken. It is one of those side dishes that are surprisingly delicious and can outshine the main course, so be warned.
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Course: Appetizer, Brunch, Side Dish
Cuisine: American, American Mid-Atlantic, New York, North American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 6
Author: My Hungry Traveler

Equipment

  • Ovenproof saute pan
  • Medium bowl

Ingredients

  • 2 large Heads escarole (1 lb.)
  • 3 tbsp Butter
  • 4 tbsp Olive oil, divided
  • 6 cloves Garlic, minced
  • ½ cup Onion, chopped
  • 4 Pickled hot peppers, chopped
  • ½ cup Prosciutto ham, thick slices cut into small cubes
  • ½ tsp Dried oregano
  • ¼ cup Grated Pecorino-Romano cheese (or good parmesan)
  • cup Chicken stock
  • 1 cup Unseasoned breadcrumbs
  • 1 tbsp Kosher salt
  • ½ tsp Black pepper

Instructions

  • Prepare – Remove bottom stems of escarole and discard. Roughly chop escarole and rinse and drain. Stuff wet escarole into a large freezer bag and microwave for 5 minutes. Drain and immediately rinse in cold water.
    Reserve 2 tbsp cheese and bread crumbs. Combine remaining cheese and breadcrumbs with oregano and black pepper in a bowl.
  • Cook – Melt butter with 3 tbsp olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook until fragrant, 2 minutes. Add cherry peppers and prosciutto, cook 2 minutes more. Add 1 tbsp olive oil and drained greens to pan and mix well. Remove from burner and preheat broiler.
    Mix in cheese mixture. Add enough chicken stock to moisten the greens. Adjust salt and pepper. Top with reserved cheese and bread crumbs.
    Place pan under broiler for 4-6 minutes until browned on top.

Notes

  • Greens can be cooked to right before cheese-crumb-oregano mixture is added and refrigerated overnight. Dish can be warmed and the recipe finished from that point. 

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