yields twelve servings
FOR COOKING THE ESCAROLE:
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
6 garlic cloves, chopped
1 shallot, chopped
2 medium heads escarole (about 1 1/4 pounds)
2 teaspoons kosher salt
FOR THE CARAMELIZED SHALLOTS:
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 1/3 cups thinly sliced (lengthwise) shallots (about 6 to 8)
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
FOR DRESSING THE ESCAROLE:
1 cup minced shallots (about 4)
1/4 cup Champagne vinegar, or to taste
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, or to taste
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, or to taste
FOR FINISHING AND ASSEMBLY:
12 slices of batard, fat baguette or rustic white bread, 1/2-inch thick
Extra virgin olive oil, as needed
12 thick slices (about 12 ounces) smoked bacon
2 garlic cloves
1 1/2 pounds burrata
Extra virgin olive oil
Coarsely ground pepper
To cook the escarole: In a blender, combine the olive oil, garlic and shallot; purée until smooth. Transfer to a large bowl. Cut the escarole in half through the core and toss well with the marinade, working it between the leaves.
Heat a grill, or place a large heavy-bottomed skillet over high heat. Sprinkle the escarole with salt, and grill or sear it well in the skillet, turning occasionally, until deep brown and charred in places, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and cover with plastic wrap; set aside to wilt for 10 minutes. Cut off and discard the cores, and cut the leaves crosswise into 1 1/2-inch strips.
For the caramelized shallots: In a large sauté pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat until almost smoking. Add the shallots and cook, stirring only as necessary, until brown around the edges and soft, about 5 minutes. Add the vinegar and stir until the bottom of the pan is dry, about 6 minutes. (This makes more shallots than you need for the recipe. The remainder will keep, covered in the refrigerator, for several weeks, and can be used on sandwiches or with grilled meats.)
For dressing the escarole: In a large bowl, combine the minced shallots, vinegar, garlic, salt and olive oil. Add escarole, toss well and adjust seasonings to taste.
For finishing and assembly: Heat the oven to 350 degrees with one rack in the middle and another above it. Brush one side of each slice of bread with olive oil and arrange the slices on a baking sheet, oiled sides up. Arrange the bacon slices on another sheet. Place the bread on the middle rack and the bacon on the top rack. Bake the bread until golden brown and crisp, 15 to 20 minutes. Rub each oiled side with a cut clove of garlic. Bake the bacon until cooked all the way through but not crisp, 15 to 17 minutes; transfer to paper towels to drain.
Place the bread oiled side up on a work surface. Mound about 1/2 cup of the escarole on top of each slice, leaving the edges of the bread visible. Cut each slice of bacon in half, and lay both halves side by side on the escarole. Cut the burrata into 12 wedges and place one on each of the crostini, then drizzle with olive oil and top with a teaspoon of the caramelized shallots. Garnish with coarsely ground pepper.
bacon recipe courtesy of: The New York Times, October 26, 2011, adapted from The Mozza Cookbook by Nancy Silverton, with Matt Molina and Carolynn Carreño, Knopf, 2011