Regional cuisine like Utica Greens is one of those things you come across in life that is so different and deliciously unexpected. My lovely wife Sherry was born and lived as a child in the Mohawk valley of New York. Utica is the big town in the area, and is just “up the through way” from Ilion. Towns in upstate New York are wonderfully rich in tradition, and heritage. Sherry’s cousin Mike made a version of these for me a few years ago. They are amazingly flavourful, and an incredible side dish.
The concept of Utica Greens is so logical but so unconventional, but it all works. essentially they are a boiled lettuce that is then heavily seasoned with bits of salami, onion, garlic, cherry peppers, and topped with bread crumbs and Romano cheese.
This is so flavourful and delicious that as a side dish they can take over. You may want a more simple protein or boiled potato to accompany. Utica Greens are a lot of punch on one plate. This is my take on them, which is not the exact traditional recipe, I wanted even more flavour!
An Upstate New York Treat
- 2 Heads of Romaine Chopped
- 2 Cups Collard Greens, (traditionally it is Escarole) Chopped
- 3 oz each Genoa Salami and Sandwich Pepperoni Thinly Sliced Chopped to a 1/2" Square (Traditionally Prosciutto)
- 1/2 Cup Onion Chopped
- Italian Long Hot Pepper Chopped (Traditionally it is 3-4 hot Cherry Peppers)
- 3 Garlic Cloves Finely Chopped
- 1/2 Cup Bread Crumbs
- 1/4 Cup Romano Grated
- 1 Cup Water Reserved from the Boil
Blanch the Romaine and Collards for 2 minutes in lightly salted water.
Drain the greens reserving 1 cup of boiling liquid.
In saute pan, add two good glugs of olive oil and saute Onion, salami and Italian hot peppers 5 minutes on medium heat.
Add garlic saute 1 minute more.
Return greens to the hot pan, add water.
Simmer reducing the water to about 1/4 cup.
Transfer to a 8x8 roasting pan, top with brad crumbs and cheese.
Broil 2-3 minutes until begins to brown.
Serve with a spoon!
This is a very flavorful side dish. Plan your meal accordingly!
Chef’s Tip: This recipe lends itself to countless variations. Turn it into a main course by adding cooked white beans or sausage with the escarole. Keep it vegetarian by skipping the prosciutto and swapping in vegetable stock for the chicken stock. For a gluten- and dairy-free version, leave out the breadcrumbs and Parmesan.
We served a New Zealand Cause & Effect Oaked Sauvignon Blanc 2017. It’s a modern rich white. We can’t tell if you’re going to like this yet – give it a try! Big on flavour, with no apologies needed. Chardonnay is the main grape here, ranging from big buttery Aussie to refined and elegant Burgundy. The magic ingredient in the winemaking of these wines is oak. Available from Naked Wines.