You must have surely come across those racks loaded with endives at the grocery store, but some of us have never tried them. Endives are super-nutritious leafy greens that are used round the world for some great food preparations.
In fact, if you are looking to brighten your meals, endives can be a great element, versatile enough to charm up things ranging from appetizers to salads. Let’s see what endives taste like, and what you can do with these veggies.
What does endive taste like?
Endives taste earthy, slightly sweet with a hint of bitterness. Because they’re leafy greens they have a lot of moisture in them, which gives them a fresh, clean flavor that balances the bitterness.
Since endive is a member of the chicory family, it will remind you vaguely of chicory and coffee beans.
Although endives can be a kind of acquired taste, they can work as a complementary element to the sweet or sour flavors. They add a unique bitter green touch to the same.
Cooking endive transforms its flavors to a great extent while also softening and mellowing them at the same time. However, if harvested too late, the veggie can turn woody and too bitter in taste.
Typically, the young tender leaves are richer in flavor. In contrast, the older ones feature a cardboard-like texture and an unpleasantly dense bitterness.
When endive has already turned old and is close to rotting, you can still salvage it by cooking. Even salting the inner leaves and rinsing with some cold water can work wonders. Be sure to discard the older, rotting leaves if there are any.
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Can you eat endive raw?
Yes! Endive tastes awesome even when eaten in its raw form. The tightly bunched leaves work wonders for raw salads, while the broader-ones taste equally great to wrap or hold grilled or cooked snacks, bringing out a unique taste in every bite.
How do you make endive taste less bitter?
The raw endive leaves are crunchy and a bit bitter, but you can always mellow the flavor to some extent by cooking it. In fact, it can also get a bit sweet at times when cooked.
To reduce the bitterness, you simply need to trim and cut the endive’s outer layer. Toss with olive oil, some sugar, salt and pepper, and roast at 400 degrees until the leaves become tender.
Drizzle with a little sherry vinegar to mask the bitterness even more and make it an excellent side dish or buffet offering.
How to eat endive: raw or cooked
Endive is a beautiful winter vegetable and so much more versatile than most people consider it to be. While it can be enjoyed raw or cooked alike, there’s a whole bunch of ways to make it taste truly delicious.
Endive in salads
The super crunchy texture of endives works very well in salads. Some love to slice the endive in smaller thin strips to combine with their salad choices. Others simply replace crackers with some endive leaves and pair them with chicken salad, tuna salad, or their favorite vegetable dips.
A widely popular fashion to use the leafy goodness is to use them like small bowls filled with savory treats. In a sense, the leaves work like wrappings that don’t fully close.
Endive as appetizers
To minimize the endive’s bitterness while enjoying the leaves as great appetizers, place them in 2 layers of circular shapes. Top with grapes and walnuts. A light drizzle of vinaigrette on top gives them a great balance of sweet and tangy.
Braising involves cooking endive in liquid for a long time. This softens the veggie while infusing it with the fantastic flavors of your favorite spices. This way the endive gets its bitter taste reduced, while making the green leaves so much more tender.
Endives substituting lettuce or cabbage
Whether it’s atop some panini or deli sandwiches, you can simply put endive leaves anywhere you would put lettuce. They deliver a great texture and crunch to the final dish. Some also love to add endives to their choice of soups, replacing cabbage or other chicory veggies.
Addition to stir-fries
Adding endives to any of your favorite stir-fries will make them taste sweeter and add more crunch to the meal and make it so much more nutritious.
Grilled endives manage to taste absolutely delicious and aren’t bitter, while being a great side dish for any meal. Brush each of the leaves with a little olive oil before grilling until they turn brown and a bit wilted on the grilled side.
They can also be topped with salt and pepper, extra virgin olive oil, and some balsamic vinegar for a great flavor.
It’s a good idea to sauté endives in olive oil to alter the flavors from bitter to well-balanced. A squeeze of fresh lemon is going to help when added with some salt and pepper. Sauteed endives usually work as the perfect base for grilled fish.
Endives taste amazing when they are baked. The idea is to place halved endives on a baking sheet, brushing with some butter and topping with some nutmeg and low-fat cheese. Baking them until they are lightly browned works best for the taste and texture.
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Selecting the best tasting endives
A little caution will make it easier for you to select the best tasting endives when grabbing a bunch at the store. Look for heads that are totally free from all discolorations and blemishes, especially along the feather-like yellow-green edges.
The endives should feel heavy with a dense packing of the leaves. A good idea is to peel back the endives’ outer layer a bit to inspect the inner leaves. Put them in the fridge and don’t cut the endives until you are ready to eat them or they will turn brown faster.
Suppose you simply love experimenting with new veggies and yummy greens every chance you get. In that case, this post is surely going to inspire you to try some fresh endive.
We bet you’re going to be pleasantly surprised by the crunchy, tangy vegetable. If you have found your way to endive, you surely must grab a bunch of this veggie goodness and give its decadent flavor a shot this season.