How Can I Use Escarole and What Does It Mean?

How Can I Use Escarole and What Does It Mean?

A staple of Italian meals like pasta e fag
ioli and Italian Wedding Soup is escarole, a leafy green vegetable. Since escarole may easily blend in with lettuces like green leaf or romaine, you've definitely seen it in the produce aisle but may not have noticed it. It's delicious raw, but its robust texture makes it ideal for cooking as well.

Continue reading to learn some uses for this adaptable vegetable.

What is Escarole?

A leafy green, escarole belongs to the chicory family, which also contains endive and radicchio. With its broad, green leaves, escarole is regarded as a "bitter" green, much like the other members of the chicory family, though it is generally less bitter than some of its relatives.

How to Utilize Escarole 

Escarole requires very little effort. To get rid of any dirt at the base of the stems, take the leaves from the core and give them a wash. Ideal for salads, the inner leaves are more delicate and have a lighter hue than the outside leaves. If bitter greens are your thing, you could discover that they are adequate in isolation. To get that pop of flavor without overwhelming the dish, you may mix them with a softer lettuce, such romaine, if you like to offset their slightly bitter flavor. If you have a favorite recipe for lettuce wraps, you may also use the whole leaves instead of lettuce.

The outer leaves are excellent for cooking since they are a deeper green, less delicate, and slightly more bitter. Try adding shredded or chopped leaves to soups near the end of the cooking process. They will retain their chewy texttempered with a dash of lemon juice or another acidic liquid. Escarole is a hearty vegetable that works well for roasting, sautéing, and braising. It's delicious served as an appetizer or as a side dish with stews and braised meats. It will not totally break down like more fragile lettuces, but the longer it cooks, the softer it gets; moreover, extended cooking times can help it lose some of its bitter edge.


Escarole Nutrition

A 3.5-cup portion of chopped escarole, according to the USDA, contains:

  • Calories: 18
  •  Carbohydrates: 4 g 
  • Fiber: 4 g 
  • Sugars: 0 g 
  • Protein: 1 g 
  • Total Fat: 0 g
  •  Saturated Fat: 0 g
  • Sodium: 24 mg 
  • Potassium: 318 mg 

Raw escarole offers a healthy dose of fiber, plus vitamin A, which plays an important role in bone growth, reproduction, immune function, hormone synthesis and vision. Plus, kaempferol, the compound the gives escarole a bitter taste, has been shown to help protect against diseases like cancer, according to a 2019 study in Oncology Research.

Escarole Substitutes

Can't find escarole? There are a variety of greens out there that use can be used as a substitute. For salads, blends of arugula, curly endive and radicchio work well. For soups and stews, dandelion greens and young mustard greens will give you a similar flavor and also hold up well to cooking. You can also use hearty greens like chard or kale, just note that their flavor is less bitter, and depending on what you're making, you may have to cook them longer as they take more time to tenderize.

What Store Sells Escarole? 

It can be difficult to identify these broad-leaved vegetables at the grocery store, particularly if you don't pay close attention to them. Luckily, in the vegetable section, they're more likely to be found sitting directly next to leafy greens like lettuce, spinach, arugula, and others. Simply locate the lettuce, and we're confident you'll discover them quickly.


Tips For Storing Escarole

First things first! Try to get escarole with roots if at all possible. You can eat more leafy greens for longer.  

Compared to those that don't have the roots intact. Furthermore, washing veggies is not advised if you intend to store them for later use, even though it is necessary to wash them before cooking and eating them. Vegetables will only decay more faster if this is done.

You can store your escarole in one of two ways. Initially, you can keep them in an airtight container or a ziplock bag in the refrigerator.

If properly stored, they will keep for three to five days in the refrigerator. Freeze them if you want to keep them longer than that. But only if you intend to use your escarole in soups or pasta recipes do we advise adopting this method. This is due to the fact that freezing them causes the leaves to mush. To use this method, just put them in the freezer after storing them in freezer containers. When frozen, your escaroles can keep for up to six months.


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