Diving into Endive
March 5th, 2012 - By Lari Robling
The day before Valentine’s Day I received a bouquet. Now that’s not so unusual, but this was a bouquet of Belgian endive.
OK, maybe it is unusual that I get a bouquet on St.Valentine’s! The sender was the California Vegetable Specialties Board, so clearly I am a gal who can be swayed by sentiment. I decided to take a look at Belgian endive.
Also, apparently I was not the only sweetheart of the CVSB as every food journalist and blogger was tweeting about what they made with their Belgian endive bouquet. If there’s a successful social media bandwagon, I’m looking to sign on.
What did I discover? While it sounds snobby, this vegetable is pronounced, “ON-deev.” There’s the other stuff that we call en-dive which is curly endive, escarole and frisée — all of which are sometimes called chicory to add to the confusion. The slender yellowish green or red elongated leaves however, are pronounced as though you went to an upper crust prep school.
Belgian endive’s pronunciation isn’t the biggest oddity, strangely enough. It took a war to accidentally discover that chicory roots when stored in the dark produce the second growth that yields these tasty leaves.
Belgian endive has an astonishing list of nutritional benefits. Even Dr. Oz touts the vegetable’s anti-ovarian cancer properties.
Belgian endive is a versatile ingredient and is delicious cooked or raw. For unexpected company, the raw leaves make a quick and elegant arrangement on a plate. Add a spread or dip. Voila! Pass the “ON-deev,” please.
I personally like the heads split in half and sautéed or roasted as it mellows their natural bitterness. Here’s what I did for an easy Meatless Monday dish. Roasted Belgian Endive with Sweet Potatoes >>