February 8, 2012 by Johanna Burani
Italians have a long-standing love affair with Mediterranean bitter greens. In fact, they have been consuming chicory and its cousin, escarole, as a popular vegetable choice since the 14th century. These greens are more commonly used raw , as in salads, but they are absolutely delicious when braised as in this recipe.
- 1 garlic head
- 3 teaspoons olive oil, separated
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 lb. fresh chicory
- 8 oz. sliced smoked salmon (I use Alaskan wild smoked sockeye salmon)
- 4 1-oz. slices whole wheat sourdough bread
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- To bake the head of garlic: remove the outer layers of garlic skin, taking care to keep cloves intact. Using a sharp knife, cut off top ¼” from the garlic head and discard. Drizzle 1 teaspoon oil over the top of the garlic head, wrap it in aluminum and seal, creating a steam tent. Bake for 30 minutes. Cloves will be soft to the touch. Remove from oven, unwrap and cool.
- Remove outermost layers of chicory and discard. Separate remaining leaves and wash thoroughly. Gently drain, allowing some of the water to remain on the leaves. Chop coarsely and place in a large saute’ pan. Cover and braise over medium heat. Remove chicory from heat. Add in remaining oil and the salt. Mix well and set aside.
- Grill bread on gas or electric grill. While still warm, spread one or more cloves of baked garlic on one side of each slice of bread.
- Place 2 ounces of salmon on each slice of bread. Pile about ½ cup of cooked chicory on top. Serve warm.