Escarole is grown much like lettuce. Seeds can be directly sown into fertile, well-drained soil starting in early spring, or they can be started indoors. Plant as early as possible in the spring and stagger planting every week or two. Plants should be thinned to 8" apart. Harvest plants very young in warm temperatures and grow them to maturity when weather is cooler. For a milder flavor, blanch plants by covering their tops with a plastic bowl (about 6" in diameter) for 2-3 weeks. Popular in the south, escarole leaves add a mild, bittersweet flavor to salads or can be sautéed or braised and served with pasta.
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