This specialty of Naples – escarole with a deliciously piquant filling of anchovies, capers, raisins and pine nuts – is a favorite for the holiday table. If you find that stuffing the heads of escarole is a bit tedious, simply add the condiments to sautéed escarole. One 1 lb head of escarole will serve 2-3 people.
1 medium head escarole (about 1 lb)
3 T. golden raisins, soaked in warm water, drained, chopped
1/2 C. breadcrumbs from day old rustic bread
4 anchovy fillets, rinsed, drained, chopped
2 T. pine nuts
2 T. salt-cured capers, rinsed and drained
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 T. grated Pecorino Romano cheese
freshly ground black pepper
2 T olive oil
1/2 C. chicken broth
In a medium bowl, combine the raisins, breadcrumbs, anchovies, pine nuts, capers, garlic, Pecorino Romano and black pepper. Thoroughly wash the head of escarole in cold water; trim the core end and discard any tired/badly bruised leaves. Drain well. Carefully open the leaves and sprinkle stuffing between them toward the core. Gather the leaves and tie tightly with kitchen string. Season with salt and pepper.
Place the escarole in its side in a heavy bottomed saucepan just large enough to hold it. Pour the olive oil and broth over it and bring to a boil over moderate heat, cover, reduce to a simmer and cook 10 minutes. Turn the escarole gently with tongs and cook another 10 minutes, until the liquid has evaporated and the escarole is tender. Add water to the pan if it begins to look dry.
Transfer to a serving platter, remove the string, cut into wedges and serve hot.