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On a chicory tip

It feels like spring has been late in coming this year, and all the lovely vegetables that the season usually brings with it have been held up. I've only just seen the first UK asparagus this week (hoorah!), while the homegrown tomatoes at the supermarket have been distinctly feeble.

Still, there's one English veggie that's battled it's way through the torrents of rain - chicory. 

Disclaimer: I don't really like chicory. Still, I thought in the interests of cutting down food miles, it was probably worth revisiting. Fortunately, I had a recipe on hand for braised chicory with shallot sauce (found on the Guardian website here, unfortunately next to a squid recipe) that was crying out to take on the leaves.

The recipe needed a couple of substitutions to veganise it: vegan margarine for butter, vegan cream for the dairy equivalent. There was also a bit of hardboiled egg in the original recipe, which I didn't substitute anything for, but a bit of firm tofu grated in would have been a good swap.

Here's how it turned out:

The sauce was just lovely - I love dill, and anything with cream and wine in just can't be wrong.

Did it convince me that chicory could be my new favourite vegetable? No - I just can't get to grips with its bitter taste. The recipe mitigated the worst of it with a bit of sugar, but if you have to add sugar, why not just pick a less bitter vegetable in the first place?

It did teach me one thing though - there is nothing that can't be improved by burying it under an avalanche of cream sauce. Even chicory.

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  1. Such an important lesson learned, I think. Cream sauce really is an amazing thing!

  2. Is English chicory more bitter than American endive? I find them a bit sweet and they are a great scoop for cold salads! I've also been known to serve them wrapped in faux bacon and smothered in bechamel.

  3. Cream sauce FTW indeed! And I REALLY like the idea of bechamel sauce and facon too!


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