With its broad leaves, Escarole more looks like a traditional large head of “leaf lettuce” than does curly-leaved endive. Escarole’s have jaggedy edges and are somewhat crumpled. It has bright green leaves outside, pale green leaves inside at its heart. The pale leaves are the mildest.
The two main commercial varieties are called Broadleaf Batavian and Full Heart Batavian. Full Heart is the most prevalent kind; it grows with its deep green leaves upright but spreading out to a span of about a foot wide (30 cm.)
Other varieties include Grosse Bouclée (very heat tolerant and slow to bolt; matures in under 3 months), Sinco (quite large heads) and Salanca (tolerates cold, so may be planted in early spring or grown into late fall.)
Needs washing twice to get rid of all the dirt it seems to attract. It is just slightly bitter; use the leaves as you would raw spinach for use in more robust salads. Can also be cooked with in soups, or braised.
High in calcium.
Refrigerate for up to 3 weeks.