Often mistaken for lettuce, endive is a member of the composite family which includes chicory. Endive is known for its baby crispy leaves and slight bitter flavour which compliments other vegetables in a salad. There are two main types of Endive: the narrow leaved variety called curly endive and the broad leaved endive, often called escarole. Endive and related vegetables like chicory and radicchio have health giving properties as they promote the appetite and improve internal body function.
Curly endive is somewhat bitter, dark and leafy green. The outer leaves of the plant tend to be more bitter and the pale inner leaves are generally sweeter. Curly endive has great nutritional benefits such as high levels of folate and fibre which make it a valuable addition to any diet especially for women who are pregnant.
Cooking endive for a short time causes it to lose some of its bitterness
To make a great side dish to a meal, steam your endive, add a small amount of olive oil and lemon juice and season with cinnamon.
Endive may also be pan-fried or eaten raw
As with lettuce, choose vegetables with firm leaves of a bright green colour. Check for endive with no damaged leaves or brown spots. Store endive in the refrigerator inside a plastic bag allowing it to breathe, keep it for up to a week.
Serve raw endive in a salad to add a ‘bite’ to the flavour
Pan fry endive with chopped garlic and olive oil for 3 minutes until lightly wilted, season with salt and pepper and serve on top of crusty bread
Chopped Endive adds flavour to soups, stocks and stews