Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Non-Cooked Escarole


Arguments for cooking the escarole are well known:
  • Braised escarole is one of the best things in the world.
  • Raw escarole is bitter.
  • Raw escarole is hard to chew.
  • You are going to get another seventeen pounds of greens from your CSA tomorrow whether you cook this week's greens or not.
The overwhelming iron-clad logic of these arguments, however, wilts into a soggy heap on days like today when our very brains are fricasseed in the 90-degree heat. Of course you can make salads, but just as you need raw salads even in the coldest days of winter, you need vegetables in some way relaxed, if not quite cooked, even in the hottest days of summer. Viana La Place has a recipe for Smashed Salad, for which you put your salad greens in a clean pillow case, and then smash them against the side of your counter, bang, boom, whap! I would love to try this some day, but I was not quite up to that today. What I did was combine two processes for relaxing raw greens. I rubbed them between the palms of my hands with kosher salt to break down the cell walls, and then let them marinate a while in olive oil and cider vinegar. The resulting dish is pleasantly mellow, but with the live vital flavor of raw food. I learned about marinating raw greens, even the really tough one like collards, from Lillian Butler, founder of Raw Soul. I will have to tell you more about Raw Soul soon, no solemn vow implied.

OH, and don't be scared about washing your greens. It is easy-peasy-lemon-squeezey.

This is my submission for Haalo's Weekend Herb Blogging, founded by our fearless leader Kalyn, and hosted this week by Anh at A Food Lover's Journey.

Non-Cooked Escarole

1 bunch escarole
kosher salt
olive oil (be liberal)
about 3 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 small onion, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
black olives or tapanade (optional)
orange juice or zest or both (optional)
lemon juice or zest or both (optional)
sun-dried tomatoes (optional)
a pinch of cumin (optional)
fresh or dried chiles (optional)
a tiny bit of sugar or agave (optional)

Wash the escarole and spin dry. sprinkle the leaves with kosher salt. using your hands, massage the salt into the leaves. Chop the kneaded leaves as soarsely or fine as desired. Drizzle a liberal amount of olive oil over the leaves and mix well. add the vinegar and minced onion and garlic and optional aroamtics and mix well again. Taste for seasonings. You can serve it right now if you just can't wait, but it will be even better in half an hour

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8 Comments:

Anonymous Nomi said...

Will this work for mustard greens?

10:37 AM  
Blogger Miriam said...

Or as they say in England,

"Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult."

The Miam

10:30 PM  
Blogger Miriam said...

Oh dear I posted that before I followed the link. Sorry.

The Miam

10:35 PM  
Blogger the chocolate lady מרת שאקאלאד said...

nomi,

mustard greens should work very well. this process even works for collard greens, which i would not have guessed at first.

the miam,

not to worry; i know it is difficult. . .

difficult, lemon difficult

12:23 PM  
Anonymous Joe in Australia said...

I prefer lemon juice to vinegar. But a really good salad dressing can be made by using ume plum vinegar (which is not really vinegar, but the sour juice of salted plums) mixed with crushed avocado. You can also use a little olive oil, which I think improves it.

12:46 AM  
Blogger the chocolate lady מרת שאקאלאד said...

joe,
ume would be a bit strong, but lemon would be an interesting variation.

1:06 AM  
Blogger Kalyn said...

Sounds interesting. I've seen a few variations of salads with raw escarole and have been wanting to try it.

12:36 PM  
Blogger dan said...

Gut yontif,,,could you do a blog post about this Yididsh gaffe in a recent popular USA cartoon? danny bloom in Taiwan asks

http://zippy1300.blogspot.com/2009/08/kindle-schmindle-twitter-schmitter.html

can you spot the mistake right away>?

DANNY aged 60

love yr blog

2:20 AM  

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