In case you have never heard about them, chicories are similar to lettuce, only that they come with a bitter edge. They appear in late fall, and they are often used in the fall and winter dishes.

Belgian endive

This has a pale yellow color, the head is packed tightly and it is relatively long. It gets the white leaves because it is grown in dark, so there is no chlorophyll developed. In case you would like to buy some, you should look for those that have tightly packed leaves, and a really pale color, with no green in it.

Belgian EndiveThe truth is that they are grown in artificial conditions, and this is why they are available all year round. As it has been mentioned, naturally they grow in the late fall. You could chop it and use it in salads, but you also have the option to cook it.

Red Belgian endive

Although it has a different name, in fact this is a kind of radicchio. The two plants are so similar, that it is almost the same whether you use red Belgian endives or radicchio. It is important to know that in case it is cooked, it doesn’t maintain its color, and it turns pale purple or blue.

Although it tastes great when it is cooked, it also works fine in case of salads, as a base for canapés or on platters.

Curly endives

These are also known as frisee. Unlike the other kinds of endives, these don’t come with tightly packed heads. The difference between these and the others is that they have a short shelf life, and it is best to handle them just like the lettuces. This means that you should wash them and store them in paper towels.

In the majority of the cases people use them in salads, but they also taste great if they are dizzled and sautéed using a bit of vinegar, like balsamic or cherry.

Escarole

This plant looks just like a big head of Boston lettuce. Nonetheless there is a big difference when it comes to flavor.

In case you are going to use it in salads, you should tear the leaves. This is the best plant to use in case you would like to try some bold dressings. It doesn’t matter if the escarole is fresh or cooked; it works very well with eggs. In case you would like to add something new to grilled meats, you could try escarole broiled or grilled.

Radicchio

This is also made of leaves that come in a specific red color. Usually you can find Chioggia radicchio that is similar to a cabbage, more precisely to red cabbage. In case you are going to add it to salads, you should slice it, but it tastes best in case you cook it a little. You also have the possibility to grill it if you brush it with a bit of olive oil. It tastes very well with blue cheese, olives, walnuts and also apples.

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