Endives were discovered by chance a century and a half ago in the Brussels region.
They were introduced to France around 1920 by Belgian seasonal workers and since then the Nord-Pas-de-Calais has become the world's leading region of endive crop production. With 190,000 tons grown annually, the Nord-Pas-de-Calais provides 83% of the endives produced in France and 50% of worldwide production.
After being conserved in a cold room, the plants are moved into a warm, humid atmosphere which triggers the growth of the endive.
Endives can be eaten raw (in a salad) or cooked (in a gratin, quiche or soup) and feature in many recipes, including pan-fried endives, scallop with endive and barley grain, caramelised autumn endive tart with soft brown sugar, etc.
Chicory can last several days in the refrigerator or in a cellar. The most important thing is that it is kept away from sunlight.© Margouillat / 123RF
Chicory can be cooked in various ways: steamed, fried, boiled or braised.© STOCKFOOD LBRF
The recipe for chicory with ham is very popular, but there is more than one. It can be prepared with chilli, as fritters, with scallops, or as a stew.© Margouillat / 123RF
There is no need to wash chicory, even when eating it raw. All you need to do is peel off the first few layers and cut off the base.© Guy Ozenne / 123RF
Separating the root from the chicory is one of the final stages in its production.© GRAPHICOBSESSION