In Season: Flavorful, slightly bitter escarole thrives in cool weather. It grows from fall through winter, and can be found year-round in most supermarkets.
What to Look For: A head of escarole looks like curly lettuce, and can be as small as a softball or as large as a soccer ball. Choose firmly packed heads with unblemished leaves.
How to Store: Wrap escarole in paper towels and store in an unsealed plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to four days.
Escarole sauteed in butter and garlic takes on a silky texture. Paired with nutty whole-wheat pasta and Gorgonzola cheese, you'll never miss the meat in this boldly flavored vegetarian main dish.
Escarole is sauteed in butter until tender and mildly sweet, then mixed with black-eyed peas, potatoes, and broiled turkey sausage to make a complete meal. To save time, you may use two 15-oz cans of black-eyed peas in place of dried.
Currants, anchovy fillets, garlic, and red pepper flakes are a classic flavor combination in Sicilian cuisine, and provide an excellent complement to mildly bitter escarole. A splash of sherry and a spoonful of brown sugar soften the flavors, and slivered almonds provide a pleasing crunch.
Cookbook author Joan Nathan shares her mother's recipe for flavorful and comforting chicken soup. Chicken leg quarters are boiled for two hours, then celery, carrots, onion, parsnip, dill, and parsley are added. Chopped escarole is stirred into the soup just before serving and cooked for a few minutes until wilted.