Escarole is a tender leafy green that’s a bit under-appreciated. Quick-cooking and easy to prep, it has just enough bite to please fans of bitter greens, but not so much to put off those who aren’t big on that type of vegetable. In this preparation of sautéed escarole, red onion and raisins provide a sweet contrast to the pleasantly bitter leafy green.
Escarole mellows quite a bit with any amount of cooking, whether simmered into soup (like the classic Escarole Soup with White Beans and Potatoes) or quick-sautéed as it is in this recipe.
Get to Know Escarole
Escarole is a member of the chicory family, and a relative of curly endive and radicchio. Though it’s available most of the year and is usually quite inexpensive, I think of it as a winter vegetable.
If you enjoy greens that are a bit of a challenge to the tooth and slightly bitter, you can add raw, thinly sliced escarole to salads in combination with milder greens. However, I find escarole more palatable with judicious cooking.
Escarole wilts down quickly in sautés like this one, and becomes downright comforting in soups, where it almost melts into the mild broth.
Like all leafy greens, escarole is packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants.
Make sure to rinse well: Escarole can be sandy, and there’s nothing like crunching into grit to ruin the enjoyment of a dish. So don’t skip this step!
Plunge chopped escarole into a large bowl of cool water. Swish it around to loosen any grit. Lift the escarole into a colander. If you see a lot of sand in the bowl, drain and rinse the bowl and repeat. Either way, give the escarole another good rinse in the colander.
- 1/3 cup sliced almonds
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium-large red onion, quartered and sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 large or 1 smaller heads escarole, cut into bite-sized strips
- 1/3 cup dark or golden raisins
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- In a large skillet or stir-fry pan, toast the almonds over medium heat, stirring often, until golden. Remove to a plate.
- Heat the oil in the same skillet. Add the onion and sauté until soft, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic and continue to sauté until the onion is golden and caramelized, 5 to 7 minutes longer.
- Escarole can be sandy, and there’s nothing like crunching into grit to ruin the enjoyment of a dish. So don’t skip this step! Plunge the chopped escarole into a large bowl of cool water. Swish it around to loosen any grit. Lift the escarole into a colander. If you see a lot of sand in the bowl, drain and rinse the bowl and repeat. Either way, give the escarole another good rinse in the colander.
- Add the escarole to the pan, in batches if need be, cover, and cook until somewhat wilted down. Uncover and continue to cook until the escarole is tender but still nice and green, stirring often, about 3 minutes.
- Stir in the balsamic vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Serve straight from the pan or transfer to a serving container. Scatter the toasted almonds over the top and serve at once.
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See lots more veggie-filled salads & sides.