Color & Control:

Garlicky Sautéed Escarole

A simple pile of sautéed greens, accented with lots of garlic and a touch of red pepper flakes, is one of my favorite any-night-of-the-week sides. Whether it’s spinach, kale, Swiss chard, or escarole, the preparation is quick to pull off and goes with just about any main dish. The latter — escarole — is perhaps the most misunderstood, but is a leafy green that I think deserves way more attention than it gets. When cooked, it’s meltingly tender and almost juicy, with a pleasant bitterness that counters the garlicky oil it’s sautéed in.

Prep time: 8 minutes
Cook time: 9 minutes to 11 minutes
Serves: 4


About 1 1/2 pounds escarole (2 medium or 1 large head)
4 cloves garlic
1/2 small lemon
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed


1. Remove and discard any very tough outer dark green or browned leaves from about 1 1/2 pounds escarole. Tear the remaining leaves into rough 2-inch pieces. Rinse the leaves well in a colander. Drain well, but do not dry. Thinly slice 4 garlic cloves. Juice 1/2 small lemon until you have 1 tablespoon.

2. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large, high-sided sauté pan or Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add the garlic and 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes if desired, and sauté until the garlic is softened and fragrant (do not let the garlic brown), about 30 seconds.

3. Add the escarole a few handfuls at a time, stirring after each addition so that they start to wilt, 1 to 2 minutes. Add 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt and toss to combine. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the escarole is just tender, 2 to 4 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the lemon juice and stir to combine. Taste and season with more kosher salt as needed.


Related Articles

Recent Articles

Complimentary Issue

If you would like to receive a free digital copy of this magazine enter your email.