Lettuce is for salads. Or, at least that what we thought they were until we tried the mighty green: escarole.
This robust allrounder is a stalwart of the salad drawer in the winter, not simply for flavourful crunchy salads but also for throwing into hearty warming dishes like soups and stews.
What is escarole?
Escarole might look like a lettuce, but it's actually a chicory complete with a pleasantly mild bitterness, meaning it stands up well against other ingredients as well as being robust enough to cook with.
How to cook with Escarole?
Escarole can be enjoyed both raw and cooked. It can be braised, grilled or sautéd or simply thrown into soups.
Escarole is also a great match with Italian cuisine, pairing wonderfully with beans, hearty sausages, rustic soups, olive oil and pasta.
Escarole and Bean Soup
A classic favourite is the hearty escarole and cannellini bean soup with lashings of parmesan. See how to make it in the quick clip below:
Escarole is also great in salad, which can be as simple as adding a zingy dressing to the crispy green leaves. Try this recipe for Jacques Pepin's Escarole with mustard dressing in the New York Times, for simplicity at its most delicious.
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Simplicity is key in this popular Pennsylvanian side dish. The mild bitterness of the escarole is tempered once the greens are cooked and combined with cannellini beans. We finish the dish with a sprinkling of nutty Parmesan cheese and extra olive oil. Recipe link in profile.
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