Today, it is grown all over and California produces most of the nation's supply. It's a versatile vegetable that is too often overlooked. Individual leaves can be a healthy substitute for crackers. You can also arrange the leaves on a platter and add a spoonful of your favorite dip on each leaf (as I did a few years ago).
This recipe is adapted from endive grower, Rick Collins, who grows most of the endive we find in stores in Rio Vista. He offers this cooking tip:
"You want to braise these endives beyond al dente. I've seen them served still kind of crisp, but you want these to be really limp. They won't fall apart because of all the fiber in them, and you'll still have to cut them with a knife."
Braised Belgian Endives
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 4 Belgian endives, cut in half
- 1 1/2 cups of broth
Heat oil in a heavy skillet (cast iron works real well for this). Add endives cut side down and sear for a few minutes. Press down with a spatula. When there is some visible browning, flip endives over and add stock. Reduce to a simmer and braise uncovered until the stock reduces and the endives are soft and carmelized.
Remove endives from the pan and serve hot, drizzled with reduced sauce.
Serves 2 to 4 as a side dish.
Endive links with more information and recipe ideas: