The inspiration for this comes from an authentic regional Italian dish featured in the Bocca Cookbook (Bocca is a hip Italian restaurant in London). The original instructions called for stuffing a head of escarole with garlic, raisins and anchovies, trussing the leaves together with kitchen twine and braising the veggie package in liquid.
Our version is ultra-quick by comparison. The greens are cut into pieces and everything is thrown in the pan together, without any fussy lacing. We’ve omitted the anchovies (toss in a few if you like them) and added olives instead. We call for a mix of currants and golden raisins, since that’s what our pantry offered us, but you could easily substitute what you have on hand—even chopped prunes would be nice.
Braising involves first browning ingredients in a hot pan to create wonderful caramelized bits; adding liquid; then simmering it off, to create an ultra-soft product, infused with flavor. Cooking the bitter greens, garlic, dried fruit and pine nuts together results in a slightly sweet sauce that elevates this dish from the everyday. It’s ready for a special occasion, though simple enough to patch together on the fly.