Every winter, when I get a “bouquet” of endive from California Vegetable Specialties,” it’s always a welcome delivery.
That’s because it makes me rediscover how versatile this year-round vegetable is.
Europeans consume as much as 15 pounds per year of endive. But Americans? We partake of a mere ounce a year.
I admit I often don’t do much better than that, myself, reaching for the slender white or red chicory occasionally to spiff up salads for company.
The Rio Vista company is the only producer of endive in the country. And yes, that’s “on-deev,” in the French manner, which are grown in the dark.
But there’s so much more you can do with endive than just separate the leaves to toss into salads.
“Braised Endive with Gorgonzola” is one example. This incredibly simple recipe is from “Vegetable Literacy” (Ten Speed Press), of which I received a review copy. It’s by Deborah Madison, former chef of Greens in San Francisco, and expert on vegetable-based cooking. It includes more than 300 recipes for 12 different plant families. She gives fascinating insight into what vegetables are related to one another, how to use the entire vegetable, and best flavorings to use with each.