Escarole is a member of the chicory family, a family of greens that thrive in cooler temperatures and are tremendously popular in Europe, where they're prized for their crispness and robust, slightly bitter flavor. Escarole is less bitter than other chicories. We love it for its versatility and unique texture.
Escarole keeps quite well in an open plastic bag, in the refrigerator, for up to a week, if not longer.
Escarole can be eaten raw, grilled in wedges, sauteed, or added to soups or pastas. The inner leaves are the most crisp and the least bitter and are delicious in salads. The outer leaves are best for sauteing or adding to soups or other dishes. Escarole stands up to bold flavors like toasted nuts, garlic, capers, anchovies (even if you think you don’t like them), and strong cheeses (like goat cheese or a blue cheese). In Italy, escarole is often made with white beans and is a critical ingredient in Italian Wedding Soup. If serving in a salad, be sure to give it a stronger-than-usual dressing with sherry vinegar, red wine vinegar, and/or plenty of lemon juice. Pears, apples, or persimmons go especially well in an escarole salad.