The milk soaked toasts add richness to humble escarole. It’s crisp against wilted, sweet and slightly bitter; in other words, all the great taste sensations are harmoniously balanced. This can be served as a warm salad at the start of a meal or as a side dish with meat.
- Yield: 4 Servings
- 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 head escarole, dark outer tips of the leaves and stem ends removed
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1⁄2 red onion, thinly sliced
- Milk-Soaked Croutons
- 1 stale ciabatta loaf, cut into 11⁄2-inch cubes
- 3 cups milk
- Olive oil for drizzling
- In a large Dutch oven with a tight-fitting lid, heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil over a medium flame for 2 minutes. Add the escarole leaves, salt, and garlic. Cover, and steam until the leaves are limp, about 5 minutes.
- Divide the wilted escarole among four small serving plates. Top with the sliced onion, and drizzle with the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Top with the croutons, and serve immediately. Milk-Soaked Croutons
- Place the bread cubes in a shallow bowl and add milk to cover them. Let the bread soak for 1 hour to absorb the milk.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Drain the bread cubes, squeezing them to remove any excess liquid. Spread the bread cubes in a single layer on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, and toast in the oven, shaking the baking sheet occasionally, until they are gold and crisp, 15 to 17 minutes. If making the croutons in advance, store at room temperature in an airtight container.