With a January Primo Piatto, a February Secondo, we round out the meal with March’s contorno. The method below is most commonly prepared with chicory, but adapts well to any of the bitter greens. We suggest any of the chard varieties for this recipe, which can be prepared in advance. It doesn’t suffer from being served cold, either!
In Italy, many dark green leafy vegetables – including spinach, chicory, and turnip greens – are prepared in this fashion, especially in the winter. Most Umbrian grocery stores sell balls of pre-cooked leafy greens in their deli sections, ready to be taken home for additional seasoning as described above. Traditionally, when prepared at home, the pre-cooked leaves are allowed to cool and squeezed by hand to remove excess moisture, then stored for up to 3 days in the refrigerator.
Regarding the use of peperoncino: a number of Umbrian dishes use a very slight amount of peperoncino to add zest and flavor, often in place of black pepper.