Escarole is a winter green my father served to me raw in a salad. I always struggled with the underlying toughness of the leaves. I would smile and gulp down a lot of water while eating them! My favorite treatment for them now is to drop them in a hot pan with a splash of olive oil and a touch of chili flakes. The "fork-garlic clove" trick adds a nice, light garlic flavor! They will lose a lot of volume so don't be afraid to overload the pan and watch it wilt. Cook for only a few minutes and serve immediately.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the olive oil. Add the escarole and season lightly with salt and chili flakes. Cook the escarole, stirring, from time to time, with the fork, until they are completely wilted, about 2 to 3 minutes. This will allow a "hint" of garlic to touch the greens without overwhelming them. Drain and discard any liquid. Transfer the leaves to a kitchen towel and dry them off, slightly, before transferring them to a platter. Serve immediately.
Recipe courtesy Alex Guarnaschelli