Escarole  

 

Scarola Saltata – Scarola cu l’ Agghia 

 

Endive (Cichorium Endivia) includes three principal varieties: the Belgian endive, the curly escarole, also called chicory and the escarole.
The Belgian endive is used for salads and for roasting or baking.
The curly escarole can be used as a salad or cooked as a vegetable.
Escarole is mostly cooked and used as a vegetable or side dish, and sometimes mixed in salads.
Escarole is a valuable element in our diet because of its therapeutic quality as a treatment for the inflammation of the digestive system and for the large amount of non-soluble fibers, it is helpful in lowering blood cholesterol, it regulates blood sugar and helps to relieve constipation.
Aside from the salutary benefits, escarole is a delicious vegetable to mix in salads, especially the white, tender and slightly bitter center leaves, or briefly boil and sauté with garlic and olive oil, as it is done in Sicily.
At Joe’s, we served a lot of escarole; we served it with a little cooking liquid and our patrons enjoyed it as I did, dipping the bread into it and literally making a meal out of this plain and delicious dish.
As for all vegetables, buy fresh and crispy and avoid vegetables whose leaves are discolored or damaged by refrigeration or insects blemishes.

One head of escarole serves 3 persons

Ingredients

1 lb. or 1 head of escarole
3 garlic cloves sliced
3 tablespoons of olive oil
pinch of crushed red peppers (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
 

PREPARATION  

The Escarole
Cut base of escarole, discard rough outer leaves, separate the leaves and cut in 1 inch strips.
Rinse the escarole 2 or 3 times, until all sand is washed away. Set on the side.

The Cooking
Over high heat, set a 6 quart sauce pot with 4 quarts of water. When water begins to boil, place the escarole in it, add salt to taste and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon place the escarole in a container and set on the side.
Combine the olive oil and the garlic in a 10 inches skillet and place over a medium heat. When the garlic turns golden in color, remove skillet from the fire, combine with escarole, place over medium heat and simmer for 5 minutes or until tender. Taste for salt, add crushed red pepper and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

The Serving
Serve hot with some of the cooking juice and crusty bread to dip into the liquid. It can be served at room temperature with lemon wedges and extra olive oil.