Belgian endive

The pale green, leafy vegetable called ?Belgian endive? is not a true endive, but in fact, part of the common chicory family (along with radicchio and puntarelle). Confusion may exist because both are part of the chicory genus, a grouping of several other bitter-leafed vegetables. True endives include frisée and escarole.

Native to Belgium, where it is known as ?white gold,? Belgian endive is not widely grown in the United States. To keep the leaves a light color, the plant is grown in the absence of sunlight, either underground or indoors (a process known as etiolation). Conventional farms accomplish this by growing the crop in warehouses hydroponically. Dirty Girl Produce grows their endive outdoors organically using hooped enclosures.

Belgian endive has a slightly bitter and crisp flavor that sweetens when cooked. The leaves are commonly stuffed and served as an hors d?oeuvre. They can also be baked, braised, boiled, or served raw in salads.