The witloof roots had been pack away in a warm corner next to the furnace, and after four weeks I had a couple of buds, or chicons, ready to use. One was about twice the size of the ones you find in the grocery store. I decided that it could be split and braised to be a side dish with dinner.
Braised Belgian Endives
Belgian Endive, trimmed and cored*
1 tablespoon butter
juice of 1/2 lemon, about 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons
1 tablespoon water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
*To core the endive, slice about 1/8 to 1/4-inch off the end and cut out the small core
Saute endive in butter over medium heat, turning several times. Add remaining ingredients. Cover and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes.
The endives have a slight tanginess that the lemon accentuates. The long simmer did some carmelizing, which made a nice background for the tartness. The endive made a nice accent with some baked pork ribs.
The remaining chicons from this small planting will let us experiment with a few more dishes- I have a soup to try, and some of the small leaves will go in salads.
I will definitely plant this again in our garden, with some adjustments. There will be more amendments to the soil (we have a huge compost heap to work with), which will make it easier for the carrots and Belgian Endives to stay narrow and not split. Once the roots are lifted, they will temper in a shelter so our helpful deer won’t get a chance to trim them too short. Of course, I trimmed the tops too tight on my own, so I will need to rein in my enthusiasm with the clippers. When forcing the roots to bud, I will need to avoid moisture on the growing surfaces- when I tried misting the roots I created a mold problem that ruined several plants.
This is the end of our gardening season- time to work over the catalogs and plan out the plots for spring. We are still working through garlic, carrots, and leeks that we stored from the garden. Once the ground thaws there will be lots of things to do, but that won’t be for several weeks- right now it is nice to see a little snow cover (if for no other reason than it means we won’t be mowing the grass anytime soon!)