I’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.
Wash and chop the escarole, slice a few cloves of garlic, and you’re ready to start cooking.
Heat 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.
Add a few pinches of red pepper flakes and the sliced garlic. This is not first date food, people.
After 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.
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.
Ladle 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.
- 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
- Preheat oven to 400°.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.