Chicory, Endive, Escarole
How to select for best flavor:
These greens are very perishable. They should be displayed in cold cases at the market and kept wet. The bunches should look fresh, tender and crisp. Avoid green-leafed varieties that are turning yellow. Also reject bunches that look flabby, wilted or damaged. Blanched types, such as Belgian endive, should never have frayed brown edges or reddish-brown spots.
Peak of the season:
These greens are available in fairly steady supply throughout the year. There may be more available and the price may drop slightly in early spring and late fall.
Chicory, escarole and endive are all fairly good sources of vitamins A and C and potassium. The greener the leaves, the higher the vitamin A content. One cup of raw greens will have about 10 calories, no fat and about 11 mgs. of sodium.
Endive and escarole are types of chicory. They all add excellent flavor to salads or can be steamed or boiled as greens.
Endive – grows in loose heads with curly leaves. The outer leaves are dark green. The color gets lighter toward the center of the head.
Escarole — is broad-leafed endive. The leaves may be straight or waved and a deep-green color. The heart is usually white and very tender.
Chicory — head-type chicory has fine, feather leaves with dark-green edges and white centers. Some types of chicory are grown for their large roots that are dried and ground for a coffee substitute.
Belgian endive — has about fifty 6-inch-long hearts of layered chicory that are blanched to a pure white, shading towards a pale yellow at the tip.