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Sunday, August 26, 2012

Escarole Soup

This week has been pretty crazy. First, I totaled my second car in three months, the bought a new car. Also, tropical storm Isaac came barreling towards Florida but it turned West and only dumped us with rain and wind. Thankfully, despite it moving westward, FAU cancelled work on Monday! Woohoo!!!

Exciting week all around...

Also, for anyone who lives in the SE US, I highly recommend checking out Annie's Organic Buying club. For $45, you get a two week supply of organic produce. Here's how it works: every other week you stop by a coordinator's house and pick up a huge box of produce. Its different every week depending on what's available locally and in season. Its a really good value and it pushes me to try new produce. Case in point: escarole.

I don't think I've ever had escarole before receiving it in my produce box a month or two ago. At first, I just thought it was another lettuce, like one would find in a spring mix, but after a bite or two I realized the texture and taste wasn't really ideal for raw noshing. I did a little research and found this amazing recipe for escarole soup.

And this soup is the amazing. I've made it twice now and it keeps getting better. 

Escarole Soup adapted from:
1 tsp olive oil

1 lb. hot Italian sausage, casing removed and cut into bite size pieces
5 large garlic cloves, minced
pinch of red pepper flakes (I used a palm full, but we like spicy food)
1 head escarole, trimmed and cut into 2 inch pieces
3 cups chicken broth/ stock
3 cups canned beans, such as great northern (white) or navy, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/2 stick unsalted butter (you can go a little light on this if you want)
2 tblsp. chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
2 plum tomatoes, diced
Salt and fresh pepper to taste
Heat oil in a deep 12 inch skillet (or dutch oven) over moderately hight heat until hot but not smoking. Brown sausage, stirring, for 7 to 10 minutes. Add garlic and red pepper flakes, and cook, stirring, until the garlic is softened about 2 minutes. Add escarole and cook, stirring, until wilted, about 2 minutes. Add beans and cook, stirring for 1 minute.
Add stock and bring to a gentle boil. Stir in butter, cheese, tomatoes, and half of parsley and cook, stirring, until butter is melted and stew is heated through. Season with salt and pepper.
Ladles stew into bowls and sprinkle with remaining parsley. Serve with extra-virgin oil and Parmesan. 
The soup will get better as it sits for a day or two in the fridge and the flavors meld. 


Bonus photo: Hurricane Breakfast 
(Waffles, Champagne Grapes, Starfruit, and a Caramel Latte)

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