A few years ago I moved to the Utica, New York area from another part of New York State. It's so amazing to me how different this state is from one end to the next. One of the things that's different is the way they eat. Utica Greens is a perfect example of that. A little over an hour away, I'd never heard of them.
From what I have heard, the people here are descendants from Italian immigrants, so there are many Italian restaurants in the area. Each restaurant has its own version of Utica Greens, but I kind of mixed and matched a few versions to make my own. Scroll down for the printable recipe.
How to make the Easy Utica Greens Recipe:
1 head escarole (can substitute swiss chard)
4 slices genoa salami, chopped
4 slices cappicola ham, chopped
5 slices provolone cheese
1 medium onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves, pressed
2 tbsp olive oil
4 to 6 hot cherry peppers, tops and seeds removed
½ cup breadcrumbs
¼ cup romano cheese, grated
½ cup chicken broth
First, rinse the escarole and chop into bite-sized pieces. The greens will shrink when they wilt, but bite sized is best.
Blanch the escarole for 2 minutes. Drain.
Heat the oil in a frying pan. Add the salami, ham, and onion and cook until onion is tender; about 5 minutes. By now your kitchen should be smelling pretty amazing!
Add the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes.
Add the escarole, roasted red peppers, and chicken broth. Cook until the escarole is wilted.
Sprinkle with bread crumbs and cheeses. Melt under the broiler until cheese is brown and bubbly.
Serve warm with garlic bread.
How do I store Utica Greens?
The best thing to do is to eat Utica Greens when you make them, but they can be stored in an airtight container
Can you freeze Utica Greens?
I wouldn't suggest freezing the greens - they would become watery when thawing.
What variations can you make?
Part of the fun of this recipe is that you can change it up so many different ways. First, you don't have to use escarole at all. Here in NY, it's not so easy to find in the winter months. You can usually find it at an Italian grocery store or a store with a really great produce section; in my case that is Hannaford. Anyway, if you can't find it, you can substitute swiss chard and sometimes even Romaine.
I also sometimes substitute roasted red peppers for the cherry peppers. It makes it a more kid-friendly dish. Not the healthiest thing in the world, but getting kids to eat greens is a win in my book.
As far as the meats go, you can either omit them altogether for a vegetarian version, or change them up however you'd like. I like the spicier meats, but lots of people use plain ham and prosciutto.
You can also change out the Romano cheese for parmesan and either replace the provolone with mozzarella or skip it altogether. This recipe is really customizable.
Is this a low carb recipe?
This recipe can be low carb - if you take out the breadcrumbs. Greens are actually pretty low in carbs, as is meat and cheese. With the breadcrumbs, however, it is definitely not a low carb dish.
A staple in Utica, NY and surrounding areas, Utica Greens give new life to boring old escarole. This spicy mixture of meats, peppers, and cheeses will send you back for seconds!
- 1 head escarole (can substitute swiss chard)
- 4 slices genoa salami, chopped
- 4 slices cappicola ham, chopped
- 5 slices provolone cheese
- 1 medium onion, sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, pressed
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 6 oz (half a jar) roasted red peppers
- ½ cup breadcrumbs
- ¼ cup romano cheese, grated
- ½ cup chicken broth
- Rinse the escarole and chop into bite-sized pieces.
- Blanch the escarole for 2 minutes. Drain.
- Heat the oil in a frying pan. Add the salami, ham, and onion and cook until onion is tender; about 5 minutes.
- Add the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes.
- Add the escarole, roasted red peppers, and chicken broth.
- Cook until the escarole is wilted.
- Sprinkle with bread crumbs and cheeses.
- Melt under the broiler until cheese is brown and bubbly.
- Serve warm.