Notes: You'll need two large heads of escarole. You can use either hot or sweet capicola. Whichever you choose, buy a 1/2-inch thick slice at the deli counter or use prosciutto. Avoid the prepackaged thin slices, since you want hearty cubes of meat for this dish. Also, do not use canned bread crumbs. Serves 6
1. Brown capicola: Pulse bread and 1 tablespoon oil in food processor until coarsely ground. Toast bread crumbs in Dutch oven over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer crumbs to medium bowl; reserve. Wipe out pot with paper towels. Add remaining oil and capicola to now-empty pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until capicola begins to brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in onion and cook until onion is softened and capicola is browned and crisp, about 5 minutes. Add cherry peppers and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
2. Cook greens: Stir in half of escarole, broth, salt, and pepper. Cover and cook until greens are beginning to wilt, about 1 minute. Add remaining escarole, cover, and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until stems are tender, about 10 minutes. Off heat, stir in Pecorino Romano and 1/3 cup reserved bread crumbs. Transfer to serving dish and top with remaining bread crumbs. Serve.
Shopping in the Test Kitchen: Escarole
Escarole is a green that's popular in Italian cooking. A relative of endive, escarole tastes similar to radicchio. Escarole's bitter, grassy flavor takes well to assertive seasoning. It is a common ingredient in soups and salads. Wash escarole well (we use a salad spinner), as its feathery leaves tend to hold a lot of soil.