Tuesday, May 01, 2007

C is for Caramelised Chicory


Two of you have recommended Caramelising Chicory. We did this by blanching the chicory in salted boiling water for two minutes, then draining and putting in a baking tray with knobs of butter on the bottom. Then we added two teaspoons of honey and put it in the oven (at 180)for 15 minutes, basting it and then baking for another 15 minutes. Freddie was unusually optimistic about this recipe, as it contains two of his favourite foodstuffs.
Given it had a unattractive stringy and slimy consistency he did well to eat it. Then he said, "I don't like my vegetables sweet." You can't win sometimes. He gave it five out of ten which is a pass. I have to say it tasted medicinal, like antibiotic syrup. I half expected matron to enter the kitchen and take our temperatures.
My husband liked it but he did spend 7 years as a child in a boarding school so he has a soft spot for matron's cooking.
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  1. Charlotte, I wonder if there is a difference between the British and American usage of the word "chicory."

    What you have in that wonderful photo looks to me like what we call Belgian endive, also known as Witloof.

    This and many others are all members of the Cichorium intybus family, including curly endive, escarole and radicchio. These cultivated varieties are best known and loved for a pleasantly bitter flavor that pairs especially well with fruits, cheeses and nuts.

    Chicory grows wild, with almost artificial looking sky blue flowers. Its long taproot is often used as a coffee substitute, especially in New Orleans.

  2. my mother-in-law (who is dutch) has cooked chicory in the oven, with melted cheese on top.. i don't have a specific recipe, alas, but she served it as a side dish (it was the sit down meal on christmas day a few years ago, as it happens, they don't do turkey over there!).

    i think she blanched them first then just popped them into a greased oven dish and covered them with cheese. What temp and how long for though, i have no idea. I can try to find out if Freddie likes the sound of it?


  3. Great Big Veg Challenge8:09 AM

    Ed - thats right. We call it chicory in the UK.
    Endive is something else for us I believe - although I havent checked it out.
    IN the UK chicory is in season at the moment which is good for us

  4. Anonymous6:04 PM

    A question for Freddie:
    I know two kids who stage an absolute tantrum over eating anything they haven't seen before. Not just vegetables, anything. I understand that they are picky eaters, but I suggested that they should try MORE things because they are less likely to find things they like. I really admire your adventurous attitude towards trying new food. Very mature and good natured. Do you have any suggestions on how to convince my friends (age 9 and 12) to do the same?

    Jen M. in Seattle

  5. Freddie6:56 AM

    Dear Jen,
    Try disguising your vegetables with something your friends like
    such as a type of pizza or cakes or
    sandwiches and wraps. Also dont get cross with them about it as that makes children more fussy and worried.
    You have to make lots and lots and lots of different things to find something they like.
    From Freddie

  6. Here's a good one to try (chicory being Belgian endive in the U.S.).

    1 small garlic clove, minced and mashed to a paste with 1/2 teaspoon salt
    1 tablespoon mayonnaise
    2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    a 1/4-pound piece of Parmesan, sliced 1/8 inch thick and cut into 1/8-inch dice (about 1 cup)
    1/2 cup finely chopped celery
    4 Belgian endives
    1 cup walnuts, toasted lightly and chopped fine
    1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leafed parsley leaves preparation
    In a bowl whisk together garlic paste, mayonnaise, lemon juice, and oil and stir in Parmesan and celery. Salad may be prepared up to this point 1 day ahead and chilled, covered.
    Trim endives and separate leaves. Endive leaves may be prepared up to this point 1 day ahead and chilled, wrapped in dampened paper towels, in a plastic bag.

    Stir walnuts and parsley into salad. Dip wide end of each endive leaf into salad, scooping about 1 tablespoon of salad onto it.

  7. In Italy this winter favorite (includes radicchio) is grilled or roasted with just olive oil and salt and it is really good!

  8. Annemieke8:10 AM

    I always caramellise my Chicory on the stove: I don't blanche them but put them straight in the pan with some butter, honey and mustard, salt and pepper. First 10 minutes on a relatively high fire to get the caramellisation going, then with the lid on on a low fire for about 20 minutes and then without the lid to evaporate excess liquid. I like the bitter-sweet, but children often don't like that combination... This recipe is also very good with onions alone...

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