Place your raisins in a small bowl of water to plump. Fill a tall, 8-quart pot about ⅔ full with salted water, enough to cover the escarole when you add it later. Put the pot on the stove over high heat to boil. Fill your sink about halfway with cold water.
Cut off the root end of the escarole. With the bunch horizontally in front of you, hold the leaves closed and slice the escarole into three equal sections (or two, if the bunch is small). Place the escarole leaves in the water-filled sink and swirl them around to remove the dirt.
When the water on the stove is boiling, add the cleaned escarole to the pot. When the water returns to boiling, let the escarole cook for one more minute.
Drain the escarole in a colander in the sink and rinse with cold water to cool it off. While the escarole is draining, peel and slice the garlic. Drain the raisins.
When the escarole is cooled, use tongs to place the greens in a lint-free kitchen towel. Wrap the towel around the escarole and squeeze out the liquid. You also could use paper towels, but be careful if the greens are still really warm.
Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a 12-inch skillet. Add the garlic, and when it becomes fragrant, add the escarole to the pan, tossing to mix. Add the salt and pepper. Sauté the greens for about three minutes, then add the raisins and pine nuts, stirring to combine. Sauté for another three minutes, or to your liking. Taste again for seasonings.
Either serve immediately or let the escarole come to room temperature first. Refrigerate the leftovers for up to five days. Leftovers should be served at room temperature or just slightly heated in the microwave.
Escarole looks like leafy green lettuce. (See the photos in the post.)
Look for it near the heads of lettuce in the grocery store year-round.
It's usually next to the endive, so check the labels to see which one is which. You also can ask someone in the produce department to help you.
Make sure the escarole is bright green and not wilted. The leaves should be curly.
Storing raw escarole: Wrap the unwashed greens in a damp paper towel and store them in an open plastic bag in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator. This will help keep the escarole fresh for 3-5 days.