I received a ravishing gift of fresh endive recently, grown at nearby California Endive Farms. The only producer of this exotic and beautiful lettuce in North America, California Endive Farms was established three decades ago and is also the largest American producer of the lettuce as well as a leading worldwide innovator in improving its complex growing process. Pronounced as “on-deev,” this lovely, slightly bitter lettuce is a member of the chicory family, featuring tightly packed leaves and a smooth, elongated shape. Its final growth takes place in the dark, which makes farming the endive a tricky challenge. I braised my endive gift for a family dinner party, and my guests loved its sweet, haunting flavor and velvety texture.
For more information about endive, where to find it (California-grown endive is always in season!) and how to use it in recipes, check out California Endive Farms’ friendly website.