Belgian Endive (or Chicory or Witloof) used to be a fairly bitter vegetable. There were two ways of solving this: cook it for too long in plenty of water and/or remove the hard bit from the stem. Well, today’s Belgian Endive is not that bitter, so you can happily enjoy all of it.
Maybe your mother served cooked Belgian Endive wrapped in ham with a béchamel sauce. Nice way of preparing Belgian Endive when you want to take a trip down memory lane, but we would hesitate suggesting it for other reasons. You could slice it and create a salad (boring except when you follow Antonio Carluccio’s recipe for a salad with truffle and truffle oil) or cook it for 15 minutes in hot water (waste of taste) so let’s do something simple and tasty with the Belgian Endive.
If you feel inspired by this recipe, then search for Witloof from Belgium by Liesbeth Hobert and Felix Alen. Over 150 pages of suggestions with Witloof. Pity it’s in Dutch only, despite its title.
The caramelised Belgian Endive works very well with duck, with grilled lamb or with a pig sausage.
A simple full-bodied red wine will work very well with the Belgian Endive. Make sure it’s not too subtle!
Here is what you need:
- Belgian Endive
- Olive Oil
Clean the Belgian Endive by removing the outer leaves and cut in half (top down). Heat a skillet, add olive oil and just a bit of butter. Put the Belgian Endive in the pan, making sure the flat side is down. Keep on medium heat. Put a cartouche on top of the endive and cook for some 15 minutes. The trick is that Belgian Endive should be caramelised, so really dark brown. Now turn the Belgian Endive and continue for another 5 to 10 minutes. When you’re happy with the result, remove the cartouche and add fresh lemon to taste. Cook for one or two minutes. Stir and check the taste.
Adding the lemon juice will enhance the bitterness of the Belgian Endive and add acidity. And if you bought the right kind of lemon, you will also have a floral touch because of the bergamot.