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What Is Escarole?

Escarole is a type of endive (a leaf vegetable) that is known for its tastiness and versatility in preparation. Escarole is also known by such names as broad chicory or common chicory and using it in salads gives it a distinct difference that makes eating the greens quite enjoyable.

Escarole has broad outer leaves, and has a slightly bitter taste, which is a characteristic of the endive family. But although it is bitter, it is not as bitter as any other members of the endive family. The outer layers of the escarole are dark green but after peeling back a layer, it will reveal a slightly lighter shade of green. Each layer will reveal a slightly lighter shade of green, and as the leaves lighten in color, the bitterness will also significantly lessen. What this means is that in preparing a dish, one can use different layers of escarole in order to achieve a particular taste that one wants.

The simplest dish that can be prepared with escarole is an endive salad. With this dish, the lighter leaves are used and gently torn into smaller pieces. The leaves are then tossed with a vinaigrette or a dressing made with mayonnaise and sugar. After being lightly tossed, cherry tomatoes are cut in half and then added -- also added raisins and croutons to add a depth of flavor and texture.

Escarole can also be cooked as part of many different kinds of dishes. For example, the darker and more bitter outer leaves can be used for braising and steaming.

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