Food from the Hart

Posts Tagged ‘fall produce’

Fall Produce: Belgian Endive

In Product Spotlight on October 5, 2011 at 5:30 pm

The crisp, juicy texture and bittersweet flavor of Belgian Endive provides a nice contrast to other fall and winter vegetables. Belgian Endive has a graceful shape and lovely muted color, adding elegance to salads, appetizers and side dishes. It also plays well when cooked, the leaves become tender and rich with a subtle nutty flavor, it’s almost like a different vegetable.

Picking the Best

Look for endive that is snow-white with slightly yellow tips.  The leaves should be firm and show no signs of browning or wilting. Choose a head that feels more dense for its size than others.  To increase the self life of endive, store in a dark, cool place.  Wrapping the heads with paper towel and popping them in the vegetable crisper works well.  If the endive is exposed to too much light the leaves will begin to turn green and taste bitter. They are best when used within 3 days.

Preparing Belgian Endive

Belgian Endive can be eaten raw or cooked.  Before you deiced how you plan to prepare it you will want to pull off any outer leaves that look brown and wilted.  Use a damp cloth to then wipe down the rest of the head and leaves.  If you are cutting raw endive for a salad, wait until just before serving to do so, as its cut edges brown quickly.

Endive that will be grilled, broiled, or braised benefits from a quick steam first.  Simply put a few slices of lemon in the water and steam the whole head.  This should only take 5-8 minutes at most.

How to Use it

Endive is a very versatile vegetable. When raw, it’s good in salad or as an all-natural vehicle to serve with dips, spreads or even filled with items as a hors d’oeuvre.  Endive is also wonderful when cooked.  Try putting the whole head on the grill with olive oil, salt and pepper or braising in the oven.  It even tastes great when simply cut in a chiffonade and sautéed.

Incorporate Belgium Endive into You Next Meal

  • Create a healthy hors d’oeuvre by serving smoked salmon on raw Belgian endive leaves with crème fraîche and chives.
  • Toss sliced endive, orange segments, watercress and walnuts with a little balsamic vinaigrette for a wonderful fall salad.
  • Braise by cutting the endive heads in half and browning them cut side down.  Add chopped carrots, onions and celery and cook until golden brown.  Add chicken stock and simmer, covered, until tender.
  • Saute sliced endive over high-heat with a little olive oil and butter.  Add fresh baby spinach, minced garlic and crushed red pepper flakes.  Serve with a squeeze of fresh lemon.
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