Braised chicory


CHIC-chic-chicory does not always have to be a salad. In winter it can also come warm. Wrapped in air dried ham with a béchamel is a man in course but as a vegetable its bitterness makes an interesting contrast with say chicken or indeed other things on a plate. Here I have quartered it lengthwise and simmered with covered with a glass of water and a goodly knob of Dutch butter for 20 minutes or so…

According to wiki it used to be a common roadside weed, although I cannot remember any growing down our street. It has some lovely alternative names like blue sailors, succory and bachelor’s buttons from its blue flowers. But what we get in the shops is technically Belgian endive (witloof) which are grown underground, a technique developed by accident at the botanical gardens Brussels in the 1850s. Texts confuse the whole chicory family which are quite different gastronomically from raddichio or puntarella at one extreme to witloof here. But it is an old food. Horace mentions: “Me pascunt olivae, me cichorea, me malvae” – bring me olives, chicory and mallow leaves…

Published by drewsmith28

Words, words, words...

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