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Endive is a member of the chicory family, which includes radicchio, escarole, frisee and curly endive. It has a crisp texture and a sweet, nutty flavor with a pleasantly mild bitterness — great served raw or cooked.
So Special...It's Grown Twice
Endive is one of the most difficult vegetables in the world to grow, requiring a two-step growing process before it is ready to be enjoyed. The first growth takes about 150 days in the field, where the chicory grows from seed into a leafy green plant with a deep tap root. At harvest, tops of the leafy chicory plant are cut off, the roots dug up, and then placed in cold storage where they enter a dormancy period. As demand necessitates, roots are removed from cold storage for their second growth, which takes 28 days in dark, cool, humid forcing rooms, similar to a mushroom growing facility. The control over the initiation of this second growing process allows for the year-round production of endive.
N-DIVE OR ON-DEEV?
Grown outdoors in about 2 months, endive (pronounced n-dive) shown here on the right, is the more wild member of the family, with deeply-indented disheveled leaves. It is often called curly endive. A tamer looking version is called escarole. Frisee is a smaller variety with fine leaves and a semi-blanched center.
So what is endive (on-deev)? Most often referred to as Belgian endive, it could be called the elegant member of the chicory family, with its tightly packed leaves and smooth, elongated shape. Unlike the more simple, field-only production of curly endive or other chicories, its final growth takes place in the dark, contributing to its blanched color. Even the red is grown in the dark, it's beautiful color coming from a cross with Treviso style chicories. But, let’s not quibble, no matter how you pronounce it, endives are one of the most versatile, delicious and healthy vegetables in the world.
California Endive Farms in Rio Vista (northern California) is the largest American producer and a leading worldwide innovator in improving the complex process of growing high quality endives. See their website here, call: 707-374-2111 or email email@example.com.
Consumer and Cooking Guide
Look for heads with tightly packed leaves and a smooth, elongated shape.
Keep cold and prevent dehydration.
Most cheeses (chèvre, blue, feta), pears, stone fruits, roasted nuts.
1 pound = 4-6 heads of endive
One head of endive has only 17 calories, about 1 calorie per leaf. Endive is low in fat and sodium and is naturally cholesterol-free. One head of endive delivers almost 60% of the potassium found in a banana. Endive is high in complex fibers which aids digestion and regularity.
Cooking and Handling Notes
Once you’re ready to use endive, there’s no need to wash it. The leaves have not been exposed to soil and are harvested and packed under sanitary conditions. For appetizers requiring a whole leaf just trim the bottom and separate the leaves. For salads one can include the whole leaves or cut the endive across in smaller, 3/4" pieces. For a bit more flare, jullienne the endives in long, thin, 1/8" strips. With either cut you may choose to discard the core portion or cut it into smaller pieces before adding it to your salad. If you are cooking the endive, it is not necessary to remove the core as it will soften and sweeten with cooking.
"ORIGINAL BLUE" ENDIVE BOATS
Original Blue Cheese Crumbles
Chopped Walnuts, toasted
Separate endive heads into single leaves. Fill each leaf with about one tablespoon of cheese crumbles. Place chopped walnuts on each spear, drizzle with honey.
Wine Suggestion: Chardonnay
Contributed by the Giacomini Family of Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Company.
ENDIVE, AVOCADO & PISTACHIO SALAD
5 tbsp rice vinegar
½ c. oil (canola or sunflower)
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, crushed
4 California Endive (2 red, 2 white)
2 avocados, cubed
1/2 cup of pistachios
Combine all ingredients in bowl and whisk together until emulsified.
1. Cut endive leaves crosswise in 1/2" pieces.
2. In a separate bowl dress and toss the endive.
3. Top the endive with the avocados and pistachios.
In a medium skillet, heat the oil. Cook the garlic, onion, and pepper for 5 minutes. Add tbe vinegar and continue cooking until the mixture is thick and syrupy.
Add the eggplant with the remaining ingredients. Cook for another 3 minutes and taste for salt. Serve warm or at room temperature with crackers or bread or as part of an antipasto platter.
ENDIVE PIZZA WITH APPLES, ONIONS & GORGONZOLA
12" Pizza Crust
3 White Endives
3 Tbs. Butter
2 Tbs. Sugar
Juice of 1 Lemon
1 Tbs. Pine Nuts
1/2 tsp. Fresh Thyme
3 Tbs. Madeira (Port or Sherry OK)
1/2 Cup Gorgonzola
1. Cut endives into 1/4" ribbons, slicing them from tip to core (discard last 1/2" of core)
2. Saute them in 1 TB of butter on high heat until soft but not completely limp. Season with salt and pepper. Let them cool in a colander to strain the juices.
3. In the same skillet add 1 Tbs. butter and saute the thinly sliced onion, season with salt and pepper and 1 large Tbs. of sugar. The onion should be lightly caramelized. Set aside to cool.
4. Peel the apple (or not) and slice thinly. Saute slices in 1 Tbs. of butter and sprinkle them with remaining sugar and the lemon juice. Saute until softened but still firm. Set aside to cool.
5. When you are ready to fix your pizza preheat oven to 475 degrees and layer your crust as follows:
Endive and onions mixed on bottom
Apple slices sprinkled with fresh thyme
Pine nute and Madeira sprinkled over apple
Bake for about 10 minutes. Slice and enjoy.
Wine Suggestion: Barbera
This recipe created by Isabelle Van den Berghe.