Escarole & Anchovy Soup with Garlic Crostini

Escarole & Anchovy Soup with Garlic CrostiniI’ve been trying to take it fairly easy on myself in the kitchen lately.  You see, I have this dream of one day carving out time to finish painting my cupboard doors, getting them rehung, and putting an end to my drawn-out painting project.  I thought I was being clever and made this super quick, super tasty soup for dinner, thinking I’d free up my evening to deal with doors.  But, in typical Sarah-fashion, I opted out of the tedious housework and into making an apple cake instead.  Yeah…

We’ll cover the apple cake later in the week.  For now, I’ll show you my easy escarole and anchovy soup so you can get yourself fed quickly and spend the rest of your day being productive.  Or baking.  Your choice.

The ingredient list for this soup is short: a couple of heads of escarole, garlic, a few anchovies, red pepper, chicken stock, bread, parmesan, and lemon.  Of course, you could add to it if you wish.  I think some white beans or tiny meatballs would be welcome additions.

Escarole Soup IngredientsWash and chop the escarole, slice a few cloves of garlic, and you’re ready to start cooking.

Chopped EscaroleHeat some olive oil in a soup pot and add a few anchovies.  Let them break apart and melt into the oil.  And no, my Dutch oven still hasn’t quite recovered from that pork roast.

Melting Anchovies into Olive Oil

Add a few pinches of red pepper flakes and the sliced garlic.  This is not first date food, people.

Sauteing Garlic & Red Pepper with AnchoviesAfter the garlic has gotten a little golden, toss the escarole into the pot and let it wilt down.  Cover with chicken stock and simmer for 10 or 15 minutes until the greens are tender and the flavors have melded.

Adding the Escarole

While that’s going on, make crostini to serve with the soup.  Cut a few thick slices of bread and toast ’em up.  Rub with garlic, set one in the bottom of each soup, and shower with freshly grated parmesan.

Serving the SoupLadle the soup over the bread and finish with a squeeze a lemon to sharpen the flavors.  You’ll love the complex flavors you were able to coax out a 20 minute dinner.  It’s warm, comforting, and reasonably healthy.  Sit down and enjoy it before you get back to business.  Or baking.

Escarole Soup with Lemon, Anchovies & Garlic

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Escarole & Anchovy Soup with Garlic Crostini
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Even if you think you don’t like anchovies, I encourage you to try them in this recipe. They melt into the olive oil (so you don’t actually see them!) and add amazing depth and complexity to this quick soup. If you’d like to bulk the soup up, feel free to add cannellini beans, chickpeas, or sausage. I kept it light this time around because, well, I had an apple cake about to go in the oven.
Recipe type: Soup, Lunch, Dinner
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 4
  • 3 cloves of Garlic, very thinly sliced
  • 6 Anchovies
  • ¼ tsp. (or to taste) Red Pepper Flakes
  • 2 heads Escarole, roughly chopped
  • about 5 c. Chicken or Vegetable Stock (preferably homemade, otherwise use low-salt store-bought stock)
  • Crusty Bread (day old is fine)
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 or 2 additional cloves of Garlic
  • Parmesan Cheese
  • Lemon
  1. Preheat oven to 400°.
  2. Heat 2-3 Tbsp. olive oil with the anchovies in a large soup pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Use a wooden spoon the break up the anchovies and help them dissolve into the oil. Add the sliced garlic and red pepper flakes and sauté until the garlic is light gold, about 2 minutes. Add the chopped escarole, season lightly with salt, and toss until wilted, about 3 minutes. Cover with stock, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Simmer until the escarole is tender, 10-15 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, make crostini. Cut thick slices of bread (1 or 2 per serving of soup, depending on the size and shape of the loaf), place on a baking sheet, and drizzle lightly with olive oil. Bake until golden and crunchy, about 10 minutes. Smash the remaining garlic clove(s) with the back of a knife and rub into the warm toasted bread. Place the crostini in the bottom of soup bowls and grate parmesan cheese over them.
  4. The soup should be about ready! Taste. Season, as needed with salt, pepper, and a squeeze of lemon to sharpen the flavors. Ladle the soup over the crostini and serve. When serving soups like this, I always bring a hunk of parmesan, a couple of lemon wedges, and olive oil to the table so everyone can customize and adjust to their own tastes.


  1. Nigel says

    Hi Sarah

    You hooked me with anchovies as an ingredient. Can’t say i’ve seen escarole being sold in my area, but I read suitable substitutes can be radicchio, kale and chard. Thanks for a simple but tasty soup idea!

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