Never heard of Utica Greens? This is one vegetable side you should taste! This dish got its start in New York State and is common there in Italian restaurants and the local Italian communities. But now it’s having a moment in the spotlight, popping up in food magazines and trendy places throughout the U.S.
The main ingredient is escarole and if you aren’t familiar with it, it’s those greens used in Italian wedding soup. With its slightly bitter edge, it’s widely used as a salad green. If you like cooked greens, you should come by and get a sample of what this dish tastes like. There is nothing quite like it!
Think garlicky breadcrumbs, plenty of good olive oil, a healthy dose of Parmesan cheese, and meaty bits of pancetta all tangled up in blanched escarole. The secret ingredient to this dish is where it gets its spicy kick. Some pickled Italian cherry peppers are thrown in to give this dish its distinctive sweet/hot flavor profile.
All you have to do when you get them home is throw it in a hot oven to help toast up those breadcrumbs and serve hot. I like them under the broiler to get a little char on them while all the delicious breadcrumbs and Parmesan get toasty. All I need is a glass of a crisp white wine and I am one happy camper!