Nom Nom Paleo

Oven-Roasted Escarole

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Roasting is my go-to method for cooking veggies — so why should a head of escarole be any different? I got the idea for roasting these greens from Deborah Madison’s Local Flavors: Cooking and Eating From America’s Farmers’ Markets. In her version, she uses a head of radicchio but any chicory will do. Roasting mellows out the bitterness and also adds some nice crunchy bits. 

Here’s what I gathered to serve four people as a side dish:

  • 1 large head of escarole, cut into quarters (or 3 heads of radicchio, cut in half lengthwise)
  • 3 tablespoons of ghee, melted
  • 1 tablespoon Sunny Paris seasoning
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Balsamic vinegar

Here’s how I made it:

I preheated the oven to 400 F and grabbed a 9x13” glass baking dish. I coated the dish with ghee before putting the escarole in a single layer. I drizzled the remaining ghee over the top of the greens and seasoned with Sunny Paris, salt, and pepper.

I roasted the greens in the oven for 15 minutes before flipping them. After an additional 8-10 minutes, the escarole was finished — tender yet crunchy on the edges.

Before taking the dish to the table, I drizzled on some aged balsamic vinegar.

I can’t wait to roast some radicchio, too!

Wilted Radicchio with Shallots

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Alice Waters is worshipped here in the Bay Area, and I’ll readily admit that I’ve guzzled her locally-brewed, organic, artisanal Kool-Aid myself. Whenever I get an unusual vegetable in my CSA box, I always refer to my copy of Chez Panisse Vegetables to figure out what to do with it. Although her book has no pictures and most of its recipes include no specific measurements, it’s one of my favorites because it pushes me to develop my own cooking instincts and to experiment in the kitchen.

I referred to her book again this evening when I needed a recipe for the beautiful head of Castelfranco radicchio that came in my Mariquita Farm Mystery Box.


This vegetable is part of the chicory family, so I followed Waters’ simple recipe for wilted escarole with some small modifications. Here’s her succinct recipe, quoted verbatim from the book:

Wash and trim escarole. Cut the leaves into wide strips. Saute in olive oil, covered, until wilted and bright green, about 2 to 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, add a splash of vinegar, and serve.

Really. That’s all it says.

Here’s what I gathered to make this recipe:

  • 1 head of Castelfranco radicchio (or escarole), roughly chopped into strips
  • 2 small shallots, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons of Kerrygold unsalted butter
  • 1-2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar (you can substitute with your favorite vinegar but I like the sweetness of balsamic to balance out the bitterness of the radicchio)
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Here’s how I made it:

I melted the butter over medium heat and tossed in my sliced shallots. I sauteed the shallots until they were softened and lightly browned.

Then, I tossed in my chopped radicchio along with some salt and pepper to taste. Yes, I’m being vague — but learning to season properly is a skill everyone needs to perfect. Taste, taste, and taste some more while you’re cooking.

I didn’t need to cover my pan because the radicchio wilted pretty quickly.

After the greens were wilted, I splashed on the vinegar and adjusted the seasoning with additional salt and pepper.

Ta dah!

Please note that chicories (e.g. endives, escarole, and radicchio) are naturally a little bitter. Maybe that’s why I like ‘em, because their taste matches my personality!

Braised Escarole with Onions

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I got a big ass escarole in my CSA box last Friday, so I looked in my trusty copy of Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Cooking For Everyone to see how best to tackle it. Yes, I’ll admit that when I was a misguided youth I went through a vegetarian phase but now I’m reformed. 

Her recipe for “Braised Escarole with Onion” seemed simple enough so I cooked some up, subbing in butter instead of olive oil.

Here’s what you need to wrangle up:

  • 1 large head of escarole (~2 pounds in all)
  • 3 tablespoons of butter
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • salt and freshly milled pepper
  • vinegar of your choice

The first thing you need to is separate the escarole leaves and wash well (there can be lots of mud and dirt at the base of the inner leaves).  Drain and coarsely chop.

Heat the butter in a wide skillet over medium heat and sauté the onions until soft.

Throw in the garlic and stir around for ~ 30 seconds and then dump in the escarole (damp greens are good). Lightly salt the greens and onions and cook covered until the greens are wilted and tender (~12-15 minutes).  Season with salt and pepper and add a splash of your favorite vinegar.