Cooking is an art and your dish should be like a great piece of art – or design – or music. All of those things, if they’re great, have tension and contrast as well as harmonious elements. Certain notes, colors, images, or type should come to the forefront while others recede. A great dish should do the same. It should have a contrast of textures such as crispy and succulent in a piece of fried chicken, a contrast of colors, such as pomegranate seeds on chicory or frisee and a contrast of flavors exemplified by my favorite combination of sweet and savory or the way a wine pairs with a meal. Thinking about all these things gets me excited when creating a new dish. I know, call me crazy, but since design is in my blood, this is really nothing new. (And yes, I am crazy.) And this is how I came up with this simple but really outstanding vegetable dish of Escarole, Currants, Pine Nuts and Garlic recipe. Of course, a little bit had to do with what I had on hand, as always, but the foresight I had in choosing this combination had to do with the principles above, really basic design rules.
This dish delivers on all – the contrast of colors – black, beige and different greens; the contrast of flavors – the bitter of the escarole pitted against the sweet currants, and the contrast of textures – the softly wilted escarole with the crunch and buttery flavor of the pine nuts, and then the spicy heat of the garlic. Scored on all!!!
I hope you’ll make this dish as it will delight. My husband even talked about it the next morning. And as I said, while this truly evolved from just what I had on hand, I will specifically make this combination again and make this dish for company. And don’t forget to add your LOVE when making. Enjoy!
ESCAROLE, CURRANTS, PINE NUTS AND GARLIC – serves 2 – 3
1 small head of escarole, washed and cut into bite size pieces
2 Tbs. olive oil
6 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
3 Tbs. currants
2 Tbs. pine nuts
Warm the olive oil in a large skillet, add the garlic and cover and sweat for 5 – 7 minutes on low heat. Do not let it brown.
Turn up the heat and sauté the escarole, flipping the garlic on top so it doesn’t burn. Add the pine nuts so they can toast. After a few minutes, when the escarole is still crisp with the dark green leaves wilted, stir in the currents, season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with love.
How was your Super Bowl Sunday? I hope you didn’t eat too much junk food – that’s why I thought this healthy vegetable dish would be a good counterpoint to yesterday. Supposedly, Super Bowl Sunday is one of the most highly caloric days for most people! Yep, that’s what I heard on the news. I made an amazing beef chili that I cooked for 2 days and I’ll share that with you later but for now, aren’t these little chocolate peanut butter footballs just the cutest? (The peanut butter was a surprise!)