Escarole is a big ingredient in the Italian American pantry, so one will see it frequently on an Italian-American table. Escarole has always been abundant in American markets, whereas the dark-green vegetables such as chicory and broccoli rabe made their appearance much later. The usual recipe for sautéed escarole is scarola strascinata, “dragged” in the pan with garlic and oil. In this rendition, the addition of anchovies and black olives makes it more festive and gives the dish more complexity.
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 garlic cloves, crushed and peeled
- 3 anchovy fillets
- 1 large bunch escarole, about 1 pound, leaves trimmed, separated, and washed
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
- ¼ cup pitted oil-cured black olives
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and anchovies, and cook, stirring, until the anchovies dissolve, about 2 minutes.
Add the whole escarole leaves to the skillet, with a little water from washing still clinging to them, and season with the salt. Stir in the olives. Once the escarole begins to wilt, cover the skillet and cook until the leaves are tender, about 8 to 10 minutes. Check occasionally to make sure the pan is not dry; if it is, add a few tablespoons of water and re-cover.
Once the escarole is wilted and tender, uncover and cook for another minute or two to evaporate any excess liquid.
Season with salt (keeping in mind that the anchovies and olives contain salt), and serve warm.