I try to eat seasonally. I frequently fail, but I try. It can be difficult to eat seasonally because it requires a bit of research about where you live in order to find out what is seasonal in that region. It is also tricky because some areas don’t traditionally have winter veggies or fruit. And even though seasonal veggies should be more plentiful in their season that is not always the case, especially with winter veggies (this still astounds me, but I guess the more popular food choices will always win out, even if they aren’t in season – I’m looking at you, pale, mealy tomatoes sold in January!) But with a little effort you can find seasonal things to eat.
This recipe is one way to try to eat seasonal winter greens. Chicories (cichorium intybus - Belgian endive, radicchio, curly endive and escarole) are traditionally cool weather crops. These are typically the leafy portions of the same plant grown for root Chicory (the coffee substitute) – I think this is correct, trying to understand chicories is rather confusing and I am not a botanist; please correct me if I’m wrong.
Belgian endive is a pale, tight cylinder with a crisp bitter taste. Frequently it’s eaten raw in salads or as a scoop to hold a bite of something savory. Braising it helps to remove some of the bitter taste and softens it up. It also adds a beautiful warm golden-brown color, which is a nice contrast to its natural pallor.
Belgian endive, 4-8 depending on size
Butter, 2 tbps
Chicken broth, 1/3 cup
Water, ¼ cup
Salt, to taste
Time – Prep and cooking: 1 hour
1. Remove any brown exterior leaves from the Belgian endive and cut off the very bottom. Then cut the endive in half lengthwise.
2. Melt the butter in a sauté pan (the one with straight sides) over medium heat.
3. Lay the endive in the pan, in a single layer, with the cut side down. Squeeze the juice from 1 lemon over the endive. Pour the chicken broth and water down the side of the pan so it covers the bottom. Place the lid on the pan and cook for 30 minutes or until fork soft.
4. Remove the lid and continue cooking until the liquid evaporates and the endive starts to brown, about 15 minutes. Turn the endive in the pan so that it is browned on all sides. Serve with a sprinkle of salt once it is browned to your liking.