Monday, June 29, 2009


I thought I was already a vegetable nerd but since I've started working on a farm I've been exposed to some new veggies I hadn't really used before. I'm sad to say one of these was escarole:

I've been missing out. Although it's in the endive family escarole looks more like a head of lettuce although I wouldn't really eat it like lettuce. It's a little tougher and has a mild bitterness (but definitely not too much) so it's delicious cooked.

Since it's featured heavily in Italian cuisine that's what we stuck with: first we made the classic escarole and beans (or more accurately: "scrole and beans"). This dish is basically cannellini beans, escarole and lots of garlic with some Parmesan for serving. We also put some sausage in ours although it certainly can be a main dish even without meat. Also: it really should be served on or near some good toast.

Next we used some escarole in Italian wedding soup. Our version had spicy meatballs, escarole, potatoes and onions in broth although there are lots of other variations of this soup. Again the escarole was fabulous.

If you can find some at your local farmer's market I highly recommend trying some. Cook it the way you would any other cooking green or throw it in a soup.

Anybody have any other favorite ways to use escarole?


  1. TV chef Nick Stellino has a killer recipe for chicken with gorgonzola and endive, but it works just as well with escarole. I've found out that dandelions (either domestic or the wild ones that grow around your property) can also be substituted for escarole; and the dandelions are free, abundant, and readily available from March through December. Just be sure that the dandelions haven't been sprayed with pesticide and it's also a good idea to pre-boil them to get rid of any excess bitterness. The old-timers would often shun the wild dandelions after they flowered (due to their increasing bitterness during the heat of summer), but I've found they become sweet and mild again once the weather turns cool in the Fall.

  2. Woah, so that is what is growing semi-wild down the street. I'll have to sneak some away and see if I can use it...except I don't know if it's been "sprayed" by dogs or people. Thanks. :)

    It's a year later to the day, coincidentally. Love the title of your blog -- hope you come back and write more entries!