December 30, 2004

Escarole and Beans

1/2 cup bacon, cut into 1/4"-1/4"-1" strips (buy thick-sliced bacon, then cut 1/4"-thick strips crosswise)
3-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4-6 garlic cloves
1 can canellini beans (e.g. Progresso), drained and rinsed
1/2 tsp salt or to taste
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper or to taste
1/4 tsp black pepper or to taste (optional)
1-2 lb head of escarole

  • Chop non-green bottom of escarole head, then wash and drain escarole leaves to remove sand/grit. Cut accross 2"-wide strips (I left them whole and they were more difficult to serve).
  • In a 10" skillet or frying pan w/ cover, cook bacon until it releases its own juices/fat.
  • Add olive oil and stir.
  • Crush garlic cloves a little (keeping the clove whole) and add them to the bacon. Stir and cook a few minutes.
  • When the bacon is crisp, add the drained beans, mix and cook a few minutes (until heated through).
  • Add salt, crushed red pepper and black pepper.
  • Add the escarole a bunch at a time, cover and cook until the escarole is tender. Make sure to mix occasionally.
  • Adjust seasonings.
  • Serve over polenta.

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