Tag Archives: escarole

Patsy’s

Patsy’s is a NYC institution for Italian food in the Times Square and Hell’s Kitchen north area.

This joint has been around since 1944. I’m a sucker for old restaurants like this, so I had to give it a shot. Plus, they serve some really interesting dishes that I’ve only ever had at home growing up.

For example, I rarely see escarole served anywhere, and I love it. They do it a bit differently here than the traditional “escarole and beans” soupy stew. Here, its sautéed with garlic, olives, capers, pine nuts and raisins:

It was delicious. It reminded me of the stuffing my grandmother used to make for her artichokes. And speaking of which, they had stuffed artichokes on the menu too. I hardly ever see these anywhere except for at home either:

This was okay, but very pricey at $17. Honestly, my mother makes a much better one. This was stuffed with bread crumbs, olives, capers, anchovies, cheese and pine nuts. Very similar to how my grandmother used to stuff them, and similarly a bit dry like hers often were, since they are baked (usually for too long) after steaming. My mother steams and sautés instead of bakes, and stuffs them with breadcrumbs, cheese and sauce. A bit simpler, but it tastes way better.

My grandmother on the other side used to make stuffed squid for part of our massive Christmas Eve seafood feast. She stuffed them with cheese, anchovies, moistened Italian bread and egg. Then she would stitch them closed and they were cooked in a big bubbling pot of seafood sauce that contained blue claw crabs, shrimp, scallops, scungilli (conch) and more squid. It was amazing.

Anyway I see that dish even less frequently than the others above, so I had to order it when I saw it on the menu here.

These babies are stuffed with squid and shrimp, among other things. This was a pretty nice dish, especially the sauce, although a bit pricey at $36.

The last thing we tried was the veal parm. I pretty much have to order this whenever I see it on the menu, anywhere.

This one, however, was a bit of a let down. The breading fell off almost instantly upon cutting, and was just overall a bit soggy and not up to par. The potato croquette that came with it was just okay as well. The bar, however, was a nice little stretch of mid century modern goodness where I’d love to have a martini:

To sum up, nothing tastes as good as mom’s and grandma’s cooking, but when you need a fix away from home, Patsy’s might be the right spot to get it.

PATSY’S
236 W 56th St
New York, NY 10019

The Italian Peasant Sandwich

I grew up eating some classic Italian peasant food; recipes that were handed down from the old country to the new country. One such dish was escarole and beans. My mom used to make it so that it was like a porridge or thick soup. I thought: maybe I could make it less watery and throw it onto a sandwich with some braised pork. Below is what I came up with. I call it the Italian peasant sandwich.

20140324_194425_LLS

What you need:

  • 1 lb Boneless fatty pork meat (I used country style ribs here, but pork butt works too)
  • 1 head of thoroughly rinsed escarole
  • 1 can of cannellini beans (white kidney beans)
  • Crusty style sandwich bread – I would go with two 10-inch rolls
  • 5 Cloves of garlic (2 for the braise and 3 for the sautee)
  • Olive oil
  • Crispy fried onions or shallots
  • Unsalted butter
  • Slow cooker or crock pot
  • A few sprigs of rosemary
  • Cheap white wine
  • Onion flakes
  • Onion powder
  • Crushed red pepper
  • 3 Thai chili peppers
  • Salt
  • Black pepper

Step 1: Sear the pork quickly in olive oil after coating all sides with salt & pepper. This will lock in the pork’s juices when it braises. LEAVE THE PAN DIRTY – you will utilize that porky brown goodness in a later step.

20140324_153549_LLS

20140324_154052_LLS

Step 2: Place pork into slow cooker with 2 cloves crushed garlic and wine, just enough to cover the meat. Maybe half to 3/4 of a bottle. Add salt, pepper, fresh chilis (cut into halves or thirds), onion powder, onion flakes, crushed red pepper, and rosemary. Set to cook 3 hours on high.

20140324_154218_LLS

Step 3: Rinse your escarole to get all the fucking sand off. This green leaf is more “Sandy” than a chick with no arms and legs on a beach. Dry the leaves after rinsing.

20140324_150413_LLS

20140324_150440_LLS

Step 4: Sautee the escarole with olive oil and 3 crushed garlic cloves on medium heat, putting it right back into the pan you just used to sear the pork. Start with half the escarole, let it wilt a little, and then add the rest. Trust me it will all end up fitting into a normal large sized pan.

20140324_191648_LLS

20140324_192050_LLS

Step 5: Once the escarole is half wilted add the can of beans, plus the liquid in the can, and turn the stove to high. You want to boil off all the excess liquid while still retaining the flavor, infusing it into the leaves. Cook the liquid out, and add salt and pepper to taste as it finishes.

NOTE: As an alternative to adding the beans to the escarole in the traditional way, you could puree the beans into a spread, which you can then smear onto the bread.

20140324_150626_LLS

20140324_192212_LLS

20140324_192845_LLS

Step 6: Pull the pork meat out of the slow cooker and pour the excess braising liquid into a wide sauce pan or a wide based pot.

20140324_190125_LLS

20140324_191700_LLS

Step 7: Add a tablespoon or two of unsalted butter to the sauce pan and reduce the braising liquid into a thickened sauce. While you wait, pull the pork meat apart with a pair of forks.

20140324_192533_LLS

20140324_193214_LLS

Step 8: Toast the sandwich bread and slice it open. Fill it with escarole and pork, and top it with crispy onions and the sauce made from the braising liquid.

20140324_150528_LLS

20140324_155803_LLS

20140324_194237_LLS

20140324_194452_LLS

Step 9: Eat, shit, repeat.