Family-style Rustic Escarole Salad

Family-style Rustic Escarole Salad highlights the delicious texture and slightly bitter flavor of escarole in a very simply-prepared dressing with thin toasts adding an extra crunchy element.  This recipe is a family favorite of Vito’s; he learned to prepare it from his great-aunt Evelyn and it’s a great example of the simple, rustic fare of Italy’s cucina povera.  Don’t be afraid of the garlic in the dressing, it is mellowed out by the other components.  Remember to serve Family-style Rustic Escarole Salad quickly after it’s been assembled as to preserve the texture of the toasts and escarole leaves; waiting too long will cause both to go limp. Family-style Rustic Escarole Salad makes a refreshing light lunch on its own or perhaps with a poached egg, don’t forget to have a bit of crusty bread with sweet butter on the side.  At dinner, serve Family-style Rustic Escarole Salad as a first course before a pasta, such as Sicilian Style Cauliflower Pasta, or grilled meats, such as Miso Sherry Skirt Steak, and enjoy a flavorful and satisfying dinner.

Family-style Rustic Escarole Salad

Total Time: 20 minutes. Serves 2.

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  • 1 large Garlic clove
  • ¼ tsp ground Black Pepper
  • Pinch fine Sea Salt
  • 2 Tbs Red Wine Vinegar
  • 2 Tbs Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 5 or 6 Escarole leaves per person
  • Handful of melba toasts or other thin toasts


  1. Peel and trim the garlic clove. Slice the garlic clove in half lengthwise and gently score the flat, cut side of the garlic clove.
  2. Holding the scored side of the garlic clove half against the inside of a salad mixing bowl, proceed to gently rub the interior of the bowl; repeat with the other scored garlic clove half until the entire interior of the bowl has been covered.
  3. Finely mince the garlic clove and add to the bowl along with the black pepper, sea salt, red wine vinegar, and extra virgin olive oil.
  4. Whisk the dressing together and set aside.
  5. Rinse the escarole leaves, shake off excess water from the leaves, trim and discard the root end of each leaf.
  6. Cut or tear the escarole leaves into bite-size pieces.
  7. Whisk the dressing once again; add the escarole and toasts to the bowl and mix to coat with the dressing.
  8. Serve Family-style Rustic Escarole Salad onto individual plates or from the salad bowl at the table.

Family-style Rustic Escarole Salad

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