Have you ever come across cooking with escarole? Lucky you! This leafy lettuce-like vegetable is just what you need when you are looking to add a bit of crunch to your meal.
If you haven’t yet heard of escarole or don’t really know exactly what it is, how to consume it, or what to substitute it with – not to worry. This article is equipped with the best suggestions for escarole substitutes and you’ll learn all there is to know about escarole.
This article is handy if you are looking for different ways of preparing, cooking and serving escarole. So keep reading for more information!
what is escarole
Escarole is a type of endive that belongs to the chicory family. You can find the exact definition here. You might also know escarole as scarola, scarole, broad-leaved endive, grumolo, Batavian endive or Bavarian endive. It is a green and leafy vegetable that is commonly used in salads, in a similar fashion as with other endives.
You can eat it raw, grill it, sauté it or even cook it and use it in soups or stews. In summary, it is a sort of lettuce which is similar to a lot of greens. Therefore, there are a lot of escarole substitutes! To learn more about endives, click here.
What you should look for when you are looking for escarole is a salad-looking vegetable with broad leaves. You can tell escaroles apart from other endives and other escarole substitutes by their pale green leaves.
They are much broader and almost have a rough and coarse texture on the top. The bottom generally looks like a classical endive. Look at the picture above to get an idea of how to recognize escarole in a store. How about making tuna lettuce wraps?
Escarole has a slightly bitter taste. If you compare it to a curly endive, it’s almost as bitter but the escarole is a bit smoother. When you bite into the outer leaves, which are darker and courser, they are more bitter than the inner lighter leaves.
When you cook the escarole, the bitter flavour will mellow out. It even holds it’s firm texture when cooked. Otherwise, it is crispy and crunchy.
Generally speaking, escarole is available all year-round. Although, you might have to go to a larger or a premium supermarket. The chances of you finding it in smaller or express stores is highly unlikely.
For the best possible escarole, you should buy it in the spring and summer months fresh from a farmer’s market.
how to store
Escarole and escarole substitutes are really easy to store. First cut the leaves up and wrap them up in paper towels. This is to prevent the escarole from becoming damp. If the escarole or any other types of green become wet, they rot a lot quicker.
When they are dry, they store much longer! So, once you complete this step, store them in an unsealed plastic bag. You’ll be able to store them in the refrigerator for up to four days. If your fridge is not as cold or if you have too many ingredients inside, then store them up to three days.
Frisee is probably one of the crispest escarole substitutes, that is very commonly used in salads or in sides. Once you bite into this light green leaf, you’ll see that the frisee carries a firm crunch! Surprisingly, it also carries a very bitter flavour, so it is perfect if you haven’t got any escarole around. Have you ever made a fattoush salad from these?