Belgian Endive

Cichorium intybus

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Including red Belgian endive

(See also European names)

See also: ENDIVE

Belgian endive displays a split personality, both in the kitchen and in its growing habits. Its role as a satiny salad leaf is only half the story, for it is equally enjoyable as tender cooked vegetable—a starring act in Europe, though only rarely in the United States.

Slow acceptance may be due to its slight bitterness—a positive characteristic for most of the world’s cooks but a trait with little honor in America. Happily, exposure to foreign flavors through travel and constant restaurant growth has improved attitudes toward nonsweet foods in recent years. Dashing radicchio, a comparatively bitter relative of Belgian endive, is now a restaurant regular, raw and cooked.