An European delicacy, endive adds a lightly bitter piquancy to salads.
This curly endive produces attractive heads that are frilly. With deeply serrated leaves it has an attractive yellow heart which have a mildly bitter, sweet taste.
From the chicory family, the outer leaves of curly endive are dark green and lacy, enclosing a tightly furled pale heart of leaves. The darker the leaf, the more bitter it tends to be, which is why some cooks prefer to use the more pale inner leaves. The characteristic lacy, ruffled greens also add interesting visual contrast to salads.
Curly endive is a bitter green that can add a crunchy texture and flavor to many types of dishes. Once cooked, curly endive loses some of its bitterness.
Most people use curly endive raw in salads, typically in small amounts so that the bitter flavor does not become overwhelming. The green can also be briefly wilted and served warm. As a general rule, it does not do well with prolonged cooking, so if it is added to a dish such as soup, it is thrown in at the end. Makes a great topping for pizza too.