Chicory (known as witloof in Belgium - meaning white leaf - or Belgian endive in the US) is a long, fat, tightly-packed bulb of white leaves with yellow tips. A good source of folic acid and calcium, its British season runs from January to mid March.
Buying & storing
Choose chicory with firm, crisp leaves - avoid those with green tips as these will taste bitter. It will keep for about a week in the fridge in a perforated bag.
Remove outer leaves, trim bottom of head and simmer for about 15 minutes with a little lemon juice. Or braise by cutting in half lengthways, cooking flat side down in butter in a covered pan for 15 minutes, turning once. It is also good caramelised in a pan with butter and a little honey to serve with roasts, or wrapped in ham, covered with cheese sauce, and baked.
Popular served in salads, it has a mildly bitter taste complemented by fruits. The classic way to serve chicory is with walnuts, blue cheese, pears and French dressing.