The Batavian endive I’m growing in the greenhouse is not the pale-leafed head shaped like a torpedo, but something more akin to leafy escarole, which would be a great substitute. So would kale, collards or chard. My recipe for a soup of White Beans and Winter Greens is adapted from Marcella Hazan’s recipe for Zuppa di Fagioli e Biete (Beans with Swiss Chard), and I make this soup a little differently every time.
I use recipes as templates upon which to improvise depending on the weather, the diners to be fed, and what ingredients are on hand. Besides, how long it takes to make a recipe depends on not just how organized you are in the kitchen, but also how many times you’re interrupted in the process. The phone rings; the dog gets skunked; life happens. And how many people the recipe feeds depends on the appetites of those who sit down to eat and what else is being served.
- ½ c extra virgin olive oil
- 2-4 flat anchovies (optional)
- Sprig of fresh rosemary
- 1-2 (or more) cloves garlic, finely chopped
- ½ pound of sturdy winter greens, cleaned and shredded.
- Freshly ground black pepper
- ½ cup dried cannellini beans, cooked or 2 cups canned
- Good stock (chicken, vegetable, or water): more for a thin soup; less for a thick one
- ¼ cup or more freshly grated parmesan cheese
- In a large pot over medium high heat, add oil until it shimmers.
- Working quickly, add anchovies and rosemary sprig, breaking up the anchovies with a wooden spoon and turning the rosemary.
- When rosemary is browned and anchovies have dissolved, add garlic and stir for 30-60 seconds.
- Add greens and a generous amount of salt, stirring to coat greens with oil.
- As greens wilt, add pepper.
- Lower the heat, add beans, and stir. Then add just enough stock to cover about an inch.
- Heat thoroughly. The soup is done when the greens are wilted and everything is hot.
- Mix in parmesan and serve.
I’m not a food writer. I’m publishing this recipe because I’m concerned about how our food system and choices exacerbate our climate crisis. Next week: the carbon footprint of my food.