Endive – Properties, Benefits and Cooking tips
Crunchy raw and melted cooked, this delicious vegetable resulting from the improvement of wild chicory is typical of the north of France. Its culture requires sharp know-how, thanks to which endive brings you its nutritional benefits.
Endive was discovered by chance in the 19th century. The result of improved wild chicory roots, it is not found in its natural state. It grows on roots transplanted in moisture, darkness, and heat; it is the technique of “forcing.”
France is by far the largest producer (and exporter) in Europe, despite a gradual decline in cultivated area in recent years.
Although produced all year round, chicory is considered a winter salad.
Very rich in water and fiber, endive also contains many minerals, and its vitamin C intake is not negligible. Make chicory your wellness partner!
Steamed, it has a delicate bitterness that makes it an ingredient of choice for many recipes, not just rustic!
The way it grows
In the course of time, wild chicory has been transformed to provide small salads (such as Treviso red or oblong “Sugarloaf”) or plants with strong roots. It is fortuitously covered with earth that these gave birth to dense white buds: endive.
The current varieties provide very compact chicories, very white and without bitterness. Recent research has led to the creation of Endigia (a result of crossbreed endive and red chicory), variegated with purple.
We can mention the Atlas, the Eccrine, the Extral, the Goldwin, the Hermes or the Ombline.
To choose fresh and quality endive, just open your eyes! Trust his pretty pale colors, and you can keep it for almost a week.
Choose firm endives, leaves tight, white and slightly hemmed with yellow. The base must be as white as possible
Store your chicory for six days in the refrigerator’s vegetable bin, wrapping them in paper towels. Keep them away from the light! It makes them green and wins bitterness.
Offered ready to serve, you will find endive in bulk. However, you will meet it much more often packaged in bags of 3, 4 or 5, specially designed to extend their life.
The chicory is fabulous: pan, oven or stove, steam or water, you have the choice! Do not hesitate to mix the cooking. For example, first cook the endive with steam, then fry in a pan with a little honey.
10 minutes with steam: place them tightly and water them with a spoonful of liquid (vermouth or Madeira for example), because they make a lot of water;
20 minutes to the water and the pan;
5 minutes in the microwave, for those in a hurry;
15 to 25 minutes in the pan for melting endives or al dente;
To reduce the slight bitterness that can sometimes come out when cooking endives, add sugar to the cooking liquid or brown sugar in the pan.
As an aperitif, use the leaves of endive as a fresh and crisp toast to garnish with vegetable purées (eggplant caviar …) or fresh cheese.
In gratin, wrapped in a slice of ham, topped with fresh cream and dotted with Gruyere … This traditional dish of the North is a treat! Innovate with a more sophisticated variant: replace the ham with smoked salmon, fresh cream with onions sauteed in the pan with gruyere and gorgonzola.
In salads, it’s simple: the sweet and crunchy flavor of endive blends with just about anything! With walnuts, some cubes of some blue cheese, slices of apple, mung bean sprouts, chouémincé, clementine wedges, orange or pomelo, cubes of ham or avocado.
Cook it! Cut into strips and add onions and a sauce of white wine or beer. Want sweet and salty? Try it whole, cooked in orange juice and served with cooked and crushed almonds.
In velvety, endives accompany mussels in a much more refined way than traditional fries!
Simply steamed, they are a light garnish for meat or fish.
The chicory is crunchy when it is raw, and melting when cooked. Play on its texture to make your child want to taste it. You can introduce baby endive as early as six months by mixing it with other vegetables such as potato, carrot, leek, and zucchini, and preparing it together.