You can blanch the escarole up to one hour ahead. Wait until just before serving to add the lemon juice, though, as the acid in the juice will dull the escarole’s color if it sits too long.
Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the escarole and cook until the stem pieces start to soften, about 2 minutes (the water needn’t return to a boil). Drain, run under cold water to cool, and drain again.
In a 12-inch skillet, heat the olive oil and garlic over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the garlic browns slightly, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the garlic with tongs and discard. Add the pine nuts, raisins, capers, and pepper flakes and cook, stirring, until the pine nuts are golden and the raisins puff, about 1 minute. Add the escarole, increase the heat to medium high, and cook, tossing often, until heated through and tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Sprinkle with the lemon juice and season to taste with salt.
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Love love, LOVE this recipe! Sweetness from the raisins, heat from the red pepper flakes and a bit of crunch from the pine nuts-I've also substituted toasted coriander or cumin seeds when I've been out of pignoli and its equally fabulous.
Liked the flavor combination, but the end product seemed too heavy for greens. Although I drained/tossed them several times after blanching, I still felt like they were heavy with excess water, and the 2 T. olive oil in the recipe made them even heavier. Next time, I might skip the blanching and maybe just try wilting in the pan. I'd probably cut the oil in half next time as well.
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