This personally is my ultimate comfort food. Whenever I was sick as a child my Grandmother would bring me a bowl of escarole and plate of broiled lamb chops from my grandfather’s butcher shop. She would make the escarole in a garlic and oil broth that I would dunk my bread in. And just before she served it she would drizzle some of her “Italian Oil” over it. The lamb chops were simply broiled with some salt. It didn’t get better than that.
I would be in bed with a fever and my mother would come in the room and say, “Grandpa is bringing home some lamb chops for you”. My mother could see my eyes perk up. She knew what would make me feel better. I’m sure that the escarole water had plenty of vitamins. It was like an elixir, only it tasted a lot better. It was also great for the digestion, and we all know how regular you should be when you’re not feeling well. My Grandmother knew.
I have had escarole prepared in different ways. Cooked down with a little water and then sautéed with garlic and olive oil, sautéed with potatoes, red kidney beans, plum tomatoes , garlic and oil. I love them all. But this “escarole soup” that my Grandmother made for me holds a special place in my memory. It was a feel good meal and when I would make it today it reminds me of her.
2 heads of escarole
2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons of olive oil
2 teaspoon salt, add more to taste
2 quarts of water
Cut the end off the escarole and cut the remaining head in 1/3. Soak the escarole in the sink in cold water to wash. Drain and repeat. Escarole has a lot of sand on it so be sure you agitate it in the sink and wash it well. Place the escarole in a strainer.
Heat olive oil in a large sauce pot. Add garlic and cook 1-2 minutes, do not brown. Place the escarole in the pot and add the 2 quarts of water and 2 teaspoon of salt. Turn the heat high and cover. When the water starts to boil, lower the heat to medium and cook for 6 minutes.
Broil the lamb chops about 6 minutes each side for medium well. Sprinkle some salt on each side as it cooks.
Just before you serve the escarole, drizzle with some extra virgin olive oil. The lamb chops are good with a little lemon on the side.