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Belgian Endive au Natural

Belgian Endive au Natural is truly a simple recipe. It is not the easiest vegetable to find here in the South, but this slightly bitter, hearty vegetable is worth trying.

Top down picture of Belgian Endive au Natural

Belgian Endive is called witloof in Belgium (the Flemish, northern part of Belgium); wit means white and loof means leaves. In Holland (where I am from), we call it witlof (no need to translate this). As you can see, the Flemish and Dutch language are very similar but not the same.

The picture below shows why it is called witloof or witlof.

Picture of Belgian Endive

A beautiful dense and white, or cream if you prefer, vegetable. No green or loose leaves. I don’t know all the details about growing Belgian Endive, but I do know, that it’s an interesting process, a 2-step growing cycle. I will soon write more about that in an ingredient section.

How to clean Belgian Endive?

How to clean Belgian Endive
  • Left picture shows the top of the head of the endive. When it looks clean and perfect (no brown edges), just clean it with water. When the top is slightly damaged, brown edges, cut a little of the top off. If you see leaves with brown edges, peel them off.
  • Middle picture shows the bottom of the endive, where it was attached to the root. You see a lighter core; this is the most bitter part of the vegetable. Take that core out, by using a small knife and carve at the outer edge of the core, cutting out a cone of about 1-1.5 inches in length (all depending on the size of the endive).
  • The right picture shows the vegetable with the bitter part cut out. Now this Belgian Endive head is ready.
Picture of Belgian Endive au Natural

How to cook Belgian Endive au Natural

Wash the endive carefully, you want to keep the head intact. Transfer endive to a pan with water and salt and cook, covered, for about 20-25 minutes. The thinner the head the shorter the cooking time.

Transfer cooked endives to a colander and drain well. Collect the cooking liquid if you want to make a sauce, but if not, like in this au Natural recipe, discard the liquid. Place the vegetables in a dish and sprinkle with bread crumbs and melted butter. I used home-made bread crumbs, more tasty than store-bought.

Place dish under a broiler for a few minutes to toast the buttered bread crumbs and serve. You can use bread crumbs and grated cheese or just grated cheese if you prefer.

Picture of Belgian Endive au Natural
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Belgian Endive au Natural

Belgian Endive au Natural is truly a simple recipe. It is not the easiest vegetable to find here in the South, but this slightly bitter, hearty vegetable is worth trying.

Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time35 mins
Servings: 2 people
Author: Marinka

Ingredients

  • 1.5 pounds Belgian Endive
  • 2 tablespoons bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon butter

Instructions

  • Clean the Belgian endive: Cut off the bottom of the head, but make sure not to cut too high up. The bottom is keeping the leaves together. Cutting too high, you will lose a lot of leaves.
  • You see a lighter core; this is the most bitter part of the vegetable. Take that core out, by using a small knife and carve at the outer edge of the core, cutting out a cone of about 1-1.5 inches in length (all depending on the size of the endive).
  • Wash the endive carefully, you want to keep the head intact.
  • Transfer endive to a pan with water and salt and cook, covered, for about 20-25 minutes. The thinner the head the shorter the cooking time.
  • Transfer cooked endives to a colander and drain well, discard the liquid.
  • Place the vegetables in a dish and sprinkle with bread crumbs and melted butter or bread crumbs and grated cheese.
  • Place dish under a broiler for a few minutes to roast the bread crumbs or melt the cheese.

Nutrition

Calories: 147kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 15mg | Sodium: 129mg | Potassium: 737mg | Fiber: 10g | Vitamin A: 5.5% | Vitamin C: 11.5% | Calcium: 8.3% | Iron: 7.2%

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