The chicory clan ― Belgian endive, radicchio, and escarole ― is sneaking into more and more produce sections. But raw might not be the best way for these greens to win us over; a little heat softens their bitter edge.
In France, Belgian endive is commonly braised until it's tender and sweet. In Italy, red radicchio is sautéed or braised until it's limp and deeply flavored. The Italians also add escarole to soup for a fresh shot of green. We've picked up on all three approaches in this collection of warming winter dishes.
Escarole and White Bean Soup
PREP AND COOK TIME: About 30 minutes
MAKES: 8 cups; 4 servings
8 ounces escarole
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion (8 oz.), peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1/3 cup chopped prosciutto or Westphalian ham (1 oz.)
5 cups fat-skimmed chicken broth
1 can (15 oz.) cannellini (white kidney) beans, rinsed and drained
Salt and pepper
Grated parmesan cheese
1. Cut base off escarole; rinse and drain leaves. Cut leaves crosswise into 1/4-inch-wide strips.
2. Set a 4- to 5-quart pan over medium-high heat. When hot, add oil, onion, garlic, and prosciutto; stir often until onion is limp, 3 to 5 minutes.
3. Add broth and beans, cover, and bring to a boil over high heat. Stir in escarole and cook just until wilted, about 1 minute. Add salt and pepper to taste. Ladle into bowls and offer cheese to add to taste.
Per serving: 196 cal., 25% (49 cal.) from fat; 19 g protein; 5.4 g fat (1 g sat.); 19 g carbo (6.2 g fiber); 360 mg sodium; 7.6 mg chol.