Escarole always needs a good soak in cold water to rid it of the dirt trapped between its leaves. We wash it just before preparing this classic Italian dish so that the leaves still have water clinging to them when they are added to the skillet. This way, when they meet the warm oil they wilt gently instead of frying. Either of the smaller variety of dried white beans—navy or great Northern—work just as well as the more traditional cannellini here.[wpcol_1half id=”” class=”” style=””]
1 head escarole, dark green outer leaves discarded, inner leaves separated and trimmed of dark green tops
¼ cup good extra-virgin olive oil
1–2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
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1–2 cups cooked white beans with some of their cooking liquid or a small ladleful of water
Salt and pepper
Wash the escarole leaves well and shake off some of the water. Put the olive oil and garlic into a large nonreactive skillet and warm over medium heat until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the escarole and cook briefly, turning the leaves as they begin to wilt. Add the beans and some of their cooking liquid or water, season with salt and pepper, and braise just until the beans are warmed through and the escarole is still bright and colorful, 3–5 minutes.