You might have come across a rack filled with distinctive-looking vegetables on your way to get some vegetables from the supermarket.
One of them is labelled as ‘endives’, and you’ve never tasted them, but they look scrumptious.
You can probably put them in some salads or make them as a side dish, you thought.
Sure, you can charm people with your cooking by adding these organic veggies into appetizers or mixed vegetable salads.
But, what do endives taste like? In this article, you will find out interesting facts about these pale but nutritious leaves.
Before you decide to make your dishes blossom with some endives, let’s dive into what they actually are.
What are Endives?
Endives are part of the family of leaf vegetables under the genus ‘Cichorium’.
This chicory genus branches out into several vegetables that are leaf-like and bitter.
It’s a nutritious leaf from close relatives like escarole and radicchio.
The Belgian endive is the most commonly used endive in meals, and it takes the form of a tulip and is an excellently versatile veggie.
Endives are small and have the head of lettuce but are more cylindrical in appearance.
They are widespread in European areas and are called ‘leaf chicory’.
At a length of about 6 inches, these pale yellow or green leaves are jammed tightly together with edges that are somewhat curly.
They are usually grown inside dark rooms under the ground, so their hue is light and their flavor elegant.
They are not cheap vegetables because they have high-quality harvesting methods and high status of import.
With a strong base and tight-knit leaves, you can quickly chop and toss these up into a refreshing salad.
What Do Endives Taste Like?
Endives are part and parcel of the chicory background.
This means that they will have a vague hint of chicory and coffee.
They have an earthy flavor profile and can have traces of sweetness as well as bitterness.
They are leafy veggies, and so automatically, they contain a lot of moisture within them.
This helps them capture the essence of a fresh and clean palate, which helps to balance out the bitter nodes.
If you eat a leaf, you’re bound to find it bitter.
Similarly, if you decide to eat an endive raw, you might as well brace yourself for the sharp bitterness.
However, when cooked, it tastes completely different.
Even though it tastes mildly bitter, it is overpowered by the sweet flavor and nutty aftertaste.
Younger endives have a richer flavor palate due to their young leaves.
Once old, they develop this texture that is almost similar to cardboard, with a bitter taste that is pungent and dense.
As they grow closer to rotting, they can still be rescued by cooking them in broth.
By salting the leaves on the inner part and rinsing them out with cold water, you can clear them from any rotting.
They are well known for their contribution to minerals like calcium, potassium, and fiber, along with vitamins including A, E, C, & K.
Whether you’re on a keto, vegan, or paleo diet, these low-sodium leaves are excellent.
With their anti-inflammatory traits, they can promote healthy digestion and lessen the chances of ovarian cancer.
They are also high in folate, so they are recommended for pregnant people.
How to Prepare and Cook Endives?
Owing to the endives’ slightly bitter flavor, they are unique members of the kitchen.
They can be fused together with other sour or sweet ingredients to blend into a dish that is unmatched.
They are less lettuce-like compared to escaroles and are more tender so that you will enjoy the crisp of the endives and the lovely texture.
For your next dinner party, you can incorporate endives into salads to add that extra zesty crunch they need.
You can saute them like spinach, using the leaves and their tender crispness to wrap them around some chunks of grilled chicken or fish and serve them.
Another way to work with endives is by blending them with avocado to make a salsa dip for some nachos.
There are a variety of common ways to cook endives, and these include roasting, searing, braising, boiling, and grilling them.
You can purchase blue cheese or goat cheese to add as stuffing for the endives.
The stuffing can also include various types of meat, like shrimp or ham.
The stem is darker in color and very hard, so it must be removed before eating.
It is fibrous and must be discarded along with the bottom.
If you are cooking with older endives, you should make sure to get rid of any outer leaves that seem rotten.
This is to avoid any stomach infections from the fungal build-up.
Endives may be bitter little things, but they are pleasant ingredients you can add to any dish.
They contain health benefits like preventing conditions like cancer, boosting clear vision, improving heart health, and maintaining good health during pregnancy.
These advantages promote using these nutrient-dense leaves to be blended into various recipes.
You have a range of choices if you’re thinking of adding this vegetable to your meal.
From fresh salads to delicate dips, endives can complement the dish of your choice excellently.