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Posted in Health & Wellness, Healthy Eating

Flavors Of Fall: Belgian Endive

Written by Kim Fuller on October 19, 2011 with No Comments

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This article is part 6 of 9 in the series Flavors of Fall

Belgian EndiveBelgian endive is commonly known as a type of chicory or witloof. Known in the culinary world as “white gold,” the bitter-leaf vegetable is perfect in the presence of other fall flavors.

The cream-colored leaves come from a small head, and the whole leaves are shielded from sunlight to keep their pale color and delicate flavor.

Origin

The sun-shielded plant was accidentally discovered by a Belgium farmer in the 1800s. The root vegetable had been forgotten and left in soil in a dark shed, and actually grew the pure and delicate white endive leaves that are so prized in our harvest season today.

Belgium and France are known for their large amount of endive export, although some areas in the United States, such as California, have small scale white endive production.

Enjoyment

Belgian endive leaves are crisp and slightly tart, so they are when they are served raw in salads they are often paired with sweet accompaniments, such as cranberries, apples, pears and candied nuts, as well as smooth goat, brie or blue cheeses.

The sturdy leaves can be filled with seafood, cheeses and antipasti for light and crunchy appetizers, or the endive spears can be dressed with a variety of dips and spreads. They can also be baked in casseroles or steamed as vegetable sides to be served alongside hearty harvest entrees.

Benefits

The bitter leaves pack in a lot of potassium, fiber, vitamin B and vitamin A. The endive spears are very light and low in calories, so they can be used to lighten appetizers or sides in heavier autumn meals.

Replace heavier starches with some endive spears to help avoid seasonal weight gain as the temperatures begin to drop.

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