A hearty fall lettuce in our garden is escarole. Escarole is a variety of endive whose leaves are broader, paler and less bitter than other members of the endive family. Escarole is delicious in salads, but to really enjoy its flavor, cut into thick chunks and braise it with pancetta! This makes a beautiful fall/winter side dish or antipasti. We made this in our last cooking class of the season, so cheers and enjoy!
Braised Escarole and Pancetta Recipe
1 head of escarole
5-6 thin slices of pancetta or guanciale, prosciutto, speck
half a glass of white wine
2 cloves of garlic
couple of stems of thyme - leave in tact & no need to chop (it makes it easier to remove)
Start by cleaning the escarole. Cut it into six wedges, leaving the core intact. With a piece of kitchen twine, tie the wedges into bundles to prevent them from separating.
In a pan, rosalare or lightly brown 2 cloves of garlic in a few tablespoons of olive oil. Raise the heat, add the escarole and a crack of salt and pepper. Cook for a couple of minutes until the greens begins to wilt. Then give everything a turn. Add in the thyme sprigs and lay the slices of pancetta over the top. In goes the white wine. Cover with parchment paper, lower the heat and allow to braise on the stove top or in a 350/175 degree oven for 15-20 minutes or until the escarole is tender.
To serve, cut off the twine, remove the thyme and cloves of garlic and discard (unless you love them).