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Escarole as substitute for Kale

Masonville Jan 20, 2010 05:26 PM

I wanted to make a kale soup tomorrow night, but the product at my local produce store looked pretty dismal. The escarole, on the other hand, was perfect--so I bought it. Any reason not to substitute escarole for kale? (I have a fair idea of difference in cooking treatment, so that's not a problem.) Other ingredients--chicken stock, potato, celery, onion, crisp prosciutto as garnish. I'm asking because I've never had kale before, but am familiar with escarole.

  1. c
    carbonaraboy Jan 21, 2010 01:50 AM

    With your ingredients, it sounds like escarole will actually work better. It's flavor and texture are more delicate. Kale stands up better to things like smoked pork products and chili heat. Good substitutes there would be turnip or mustard greens

    1 Reply
    1. re: carbonaraboy
      Masonville Jan 21, 2010 05:23 PM

      Thanks to you all--particularly to bushwickgirl for the citrus recommendation. It tasted very good before, but even better after 1 1/2 limes--for two people. Just by way of feedback: yukon gold potatoes are wonderful for this, giving the soup a creaminess, heft and flavor you probably wouldn't get from most potatoes. And the escarole was a dream. Only word of caution: I figured 1.5 oz prosciutto (fried in small amount olive oil) would be just barely enough for 2 people. As it turns out, it was more than enough. Prosciutto gets very intense when fried--not least in saltiness. This quantity was more than a pleasant garnish--it became an intruder.

    2. bushwickgirl Jan 21, 2010 12:16 AM

      Escarole is nice in a soup with white beans, or grilled sliced sausages or tiny meatballs of chicken or turkey, or just shredded poached chicken, flavored with rosemary or thyme. You can sub a small pasta shape, like orzo or ditalini, for the potatoes.
      The ingredients you have for the kale are fine for escarole. Escarole cooks quicker than kale, so you won't have to simmer for long. Dress the soup with olive oil, parmesan or romano, a squeeze of lemon and the prosciutto.

      1. pikawicca Jan 20, 2010 05:36 PM

        Escarole and kale have different flavors, but escarole is always very nice in soups, so I think you're fine.

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