Cooking with Endives
The endive is a very popular vegetable in France, in fact it is the 3rd most consumed vegetable in France; although this year there have been news items about a glut of endive and not enough sales. Enter the TV chefs creating dishes using Endive to help boost sales.
Endives also known as chicory are a versatile vegetable, great cooked in gratins, braised, sautéed and topped with cheese, make good soups, can be used in stir fries and also tasty raw in salads. They make great decorations to a plate and good canapes as their boat shaped leaves can be filled with pâte or used to dip into cheese and dips. They pair well with blue cheeses as the saltiness of the cheese complements the slightly bitter taste of the endive. A good pairing for a salad would be Endive, mango and a dried ham (Jambon de Savoie) giving a good salty, sweet and bitter combination.
Ideas for using Endive
A regular favourite of mine is a blue cheese, walnut, apple and endive salad. (pictured above right). Just remove the outer leaves of the endive and chop into rings. Chop an apple into bite-size pieces, crumble blue cheese, chop a red onion into small pieces, sprinkle in some walnut halves and mix together. You could also add bacon lardons to this salad. Create a dressing of your choice, I normally make an olive oil, walnut vinegar and Dijon mustard dressing. This is a great starter or good side dish.
When is Endive Season in France?
You’ll find them in season from around mid-December to end of April. The majority of Endive in France are grown in the North of France. Around 145,000 tonnes of Endive are grown in France every year. There are 3 main Endive producing Countries in the World, The Netherlands, Belgium and the biggest producer, France.
Endives are rich in water and fibre, they contain minerals, trace elements, potassium, phosphorus, calcium and magnesium. Are very low in calories coming in around 15 calories per 100g good for digestion and can aid physical recovery after exercise. Read more about the endive on The Producteurs d’endive de France website. This website has some great endive recipe ideas too.
My recipe for Endive, Potato, Blue cheese and Bacon Gratin
Endive and Potato Gratin
- 500 g About 6 Endives – quartered lengthways
- 2 - 3 tbsp of Walnut Oil or Olive Oil
- 500 g of waxy potatoes Charlotte
- 50 - 75 g walnut pieces
- 2 tablespoons of chopped flat leaf parsley
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
- 100 g blue cheese cut into cubes – I used Roquefort
- 100 g bacon lardons
- 100 ml crème fraiche or double cream
- Grated Gruyere cheese for the top
- Black pepper
- Cut the endives lengthways in quarters. Put in one layer in a roasting tin, pour over the walnut oil or if you prefer olive oil. Then season with black pepper and thyme. Roast in the oven at 180℃ until they have caramelized and softened, around 35 minutes.
- Meanwhile cook the potatoes in their skins for 15 minutes (either steam or boil them). Cool quickly in cold water and slice them into rounds. They don’t want to be too soft as you need to be able to slice them after cooking.
- Add the crème fraiche to the sliced potatoes.
- Sauté the bacon lardons and drain.
- Cut the blue cheese into cubes.
- In a prepared baking dish put a layer of the endives at the bottom, (half of the endives) sprinkle over the bacon lardons, blue cheese, walnuts and chopped parsley.
- Next put the layer of sliced potatoes
- Finally put the rest of the endive quarters on the top.
- Sprinkle with the grated Gruyere cheese – I used Gruyere for the nutty taste but you can use any grated hard cheese, Comte, Abondance or Beaufort would be good too.
- Bake in the preheated oven (180℃) for around 20 minutes, until the top is bubbling and golden.
Do let me know in the comments below if you try this recipe