I haven’t talked a whole lot about varieties of lettuces on this blog. I am looking to do that more often in 2013. I hope to help get you away from buying the bagged, prepared lettuces and working on making your own mixes. It’s cheaper and allows you all that creative freedom you desire. Today we are going to talk about Curly Endive. There are different lettuces that are endive. Belgian Endive is pure white with yellow on top. Curly Endive is very different from Belgian. Just look at the picture above (or below). It has naturally curly leaves. It is sometimes referred to as chicory.
What Does Curly Endive Taste Like?
Crisp leaves with a bitter taste is the best way to describe it. The inner leaves tend to be less bitter and more mild. I think it’s best used as part of a salad mix, then for a salad on it’s own (although you certainly could). As for salad dressing, a sweet dressing is recommend, like a honey mustard or the root vegetable dressing I made last week.
Can You Cook with Curly Endive?
Most certainly. I haven’t tried to yet but other bloggers I have. I found a recipe for a Curly Endive Mash featuring potatoes, cheese, and red bell pepper. Another website recommended wilting it along with some citrus flavors, garlic, almonds, and dates.
Growing Curly Endive
Curly Endive grows as a head, but not a tight head, so you can harvest outer leaves allowing the plant to continue to grow. It takes a while to grow 65 to 85 days depending on the exact variety. It doesn’t like heat, it will bolt if it gets too hot. For growing in the spring, you will need to start your seeds indoors or you can wait for a summer planting for a fall harvest where you don’t have to be as concerned about the heat.