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Escarole with Red Wine Vinaigrette

Escarole is one of those greens you don’t give much thought to until it turns up at the farmers market or in your CSA box. We’re so used to the dark leafy greens — kale, chard, collards, mustard greens — I couldn’t tell you when I last had escarole. And then it showed up in our CSA box last week — in June! Related to endive, the season usually runs December through April-ish, and with its broader leafy leaves and just a hint of bitterness, it’s perfect for a simple salad with red wine vinaigrette.

All I’ve done here is cut the escarole into 1- 1.5 in. ribbons, given it a good soak in a big bowl of water and spun it dry. I read somewhere that slugs love escarole (um, what does that say about me?), so between the grit and possible interaction with slugs, give it a soak in cold water, rather than just a quick rinse. Dress it with a simple red wine vinaigrette with whole grain Dijon mustard, top it with a few peels of parmesan and you’re off to the races. Believe it or not, the salad pictured served two, but could easily feed 4 as a side. Once you get going, it’s easy to mow down the whole bowl.

The inspiration for this quick salad came from Molly at Orangette and her post about an Escarole and Avocado salad. She’s also got a good Red Wine-Mustard Vinaigrette. My only tweaks to the dressing were to use whole grain Dijon mustard in place of the regular and add a bit of fresh ground black pepper.

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