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Photo: Yunhee Kim; Styling: Robyn Valarik Photo by: Photo: Yunhee Kim; Styling: Robyn Valarik

Sautéed Escarole with Toasted Pearl Couscous and Poached Eggs

At Staple & Fancy Mercantile in Seattle, chef Ethan Stowell makes this comforting dish with fregola sarda (a toasted Sardinian pasta) and duck eggs, but widely available pearl (aka Israeli) couscous and chicken eggs work well too.

Sunset JANUARY 2012

  • Yield: Serves 4
  • Total: 40 Minutes


  • 1 cup pearl couscous or fregola sarda*
  • About 5 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • About 3/4 tsp. kosher salt, divided
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 large heads (1 1/4 lbs. total) escarole, stem ends trimmed, leaves rinsed and drained (leave some water on leaves)
  • 1/2 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • About 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 4 large chicken or duck* eggs
  • About 1/2 cup finely grated parmesan cheese


1. Toast couscous in 1 tbsp. oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until mostly golden, 7 to 8 minutes (if using fregola, omit oil and toasting). Add 1/4 tsp. salt and 2 cups water (and fregola, if using); bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer until barely tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain.

2. Cook garlic in remaining 1/4 cup oil in a large frying pan over medium heat until softened but still pale, 2 to 3 minutes. Add escarole and cook until it begins to wilt, 2 to 3 minutes. Add couscous and stir to coat, then add broth and 1/2 tsp. pepper and cook 2 to 3 minutes more. Season with about 1/4 tsp. salt and pepper to taste and keep warm.

3. Fill saucepan used for couscous three-quarters full of water, add vinegar, and cook over high heat until bubbles barely break the surface. Reduce heat to medium-low. Crack eggs into water and give water a gentle stir to ensure eggs aren't sticking to pan. Cook 3 minutes for runny yolks. With a slotted spoon, transfer eggs to paper towels. Sprinkle with about 1/4 tsp. salt and pepper to taste.

4. Divide escarole mixture among 4 soup plates and set an egg on each. Drizzle with more oil and sprinkle with parmesan.

*Buy fregola sarda from markethallfoods.com or at gourmet grocery stores. Look for duck eggs at Asian and farmers' markets.

Note: Nutritional analysis is per serving.

Nutritional Information

Amount per serving
  • Calories: 451
  • Calories from fat: 53%
  • Protein: 19g
  • Fat: 27g
  • Saturated fat: 6.2g
  • Carbohydrate: 34g
  • Fiber: 5.8g
  • Sodium: 652mg
  • Cholesterol: 225mg

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Sautéed Escarole with Toasted Pearl Couscous and Poached Eggs Recipe