It’s time to enjoy an elegant member of the lettuce family — endive. Often called the queen of vegetables, American grown Belgian-style endive is a delicious part of healthy eating.
Endives are great in salads and delightful cooked — braised, broiled, baked, grilled or sautéed. In this case, we are using it as a base or garnish for our shrimp Christmas tree.
Endive is grown like lettuce. Seed is sown in early spring in the garden. Plants can be started in the greenhouse and transplanted to the garden for growing an extra early crop.
Endive has two forms, narrow-leaved endive called curly endive and the broad-leaved endive which is often called escarole. The outside leaves of an endive head are green and bitter. The inner leaves of the endive head are light green to creamy-white and milder flavored. Both types of endive are used in salad mixtures with blander- flavored lettuce to prepare a salad with a “little bite” to the flavor.
When selecting endive, heads should be clean, free of browning, crisp and bright green. Endive greens placed in plastic bags will store in refrigeration for about ten days.
Contributed by David Green