Seek out tightly packed unblemished leaves.
It looks like romaine, but escarole's firm texture, paler color, and slightly bittersweet taste set it apart. At just eight calories per uncooked cup, this nutrition superstar supplies fiber and heart-healthy folate, along with vitamins A, C, and K.
Fresh ideas: "The inner leaves are sweet and mild, so they work well in salads," says Julia Sullivan, the chef at Haven's Kitchen, a cooking school and specialty food shop in New York City. To prep, use a paring knife to cut off a thin slice on the stem end, then remove the core. "Toss with olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper and top with shaved Parmesan," she says. Add the outer leaves to minestrone and turkey chili for texture and flavor.
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