< Vegetables



Two plants came to be designated endive in the United States: Chicorium endiva—now called Endive--an elegant oriental plant whose leaves were bound together and blanched—and Chicorum intybus—wild endive—that was better known by the names Chicory or Succory.

First mentioned in England in the mid-16th century, blanched Endive became a winter salad plant. It grew from seed. Requiring some skill at gardening to cultivate, particularly when grown for cold season consumption, it never became a common kitchen garden plant on either side of the Atlantic. Yet its prominence in French cookbooks and horiticultural manuals gave it cachet among elite growers and consumers. A ready market always existed for the plant in urban centers, so as early as the 1810s it became a fixture in market gardens and glass house operations.

Thomas Bridgeman, the agriculturist, recommended that endive not be planted until June or July in order to thwart its tendency to go seed quickly. His advice for cultivation is to begin seedlings in a nursery bed: “When the plants are three or four inches high, they should be transplanted into good ground, to the distance of a foot from each other, and immediately watered; or if they are set out in cloudy or wet weather, it' will save this troubte. The plants will require to be hoed and attended to in the same manner as Lettuce, until grown to a moderate size, when they must be blanched. Select the large and fullhearted plants, and with bass or other strings, tie them a little above the middle, not too tight, previously gathering up the leaves regularly in the hand. This must be done, when the leaves are very dry, otherwise the plants would rot.”[1]

Most of the refinement of endive varieties took place in Europe, in France or the Netherlands until the 1880s. Those who cultivated it in the United States advertised the continental origin of seed as a selling point. During the salad boom at the end of the 19th century, endive became markedly popular and American seedsmen worked at creating proprietary strains with some energy.

Wild endive/chicory after its introduction into North America naturalized so well it became a common weed intruding into pastures, lawns, and mowing lands. An erect, branching perennial it grew three feet tall unattended. When cultivated, it could attain the height of a man. The usual method of blanching had a farmer tie branches and leaves together on a foot tall plant, build a plank barricade on the sides of a row of growing plants, fill it with earth so that the base of the stalk is covered. Some of the bunched leaves are left exposed to the light. When the plant is cut for use, the roots were immediately pulled.

Germans used the roasted and powdered chicory root as a coffee substitute, and the practice spread to German settled areas of the United States.[2] In the English-speaking world, its introduction into coffee as an additive was regarded an adulteration. Yet the beverage brewed from the mixture developed a following. “The aromatic and volatile qualities of coffee are, by the combination of this root, rendered more mellow and full upon the palate, and its fragrance greatly increased, producing an agreeable tonic, and most exhilarating beverage.” The mix ratio was two ounces of powdered chicory root to a lb. of coffee Edible, roots were also scraped and boiled as a vegetable.

1. Thomas Bridgeman, The Kitchen Gardener’s Instructor (New York: Bridgeman, 1840), p. 52.
2. “Chicory the best Substitute for West Indian Coffee,” The American Farmer (March 28, 1823), p. 3.

Green Curled    History

Rosette 20 inches broad with sparse center. Leaves of darker green than any other variety. A hardy plant designed for winter salad cultivation.

White Curled    History

15 inches in diameter, not densely leaved. While inferior in taste to other forms, since its branches are naturally whitish, looking blanched, it has maintained an enduring popularity at the market on the basis of eye appeal. Not greatly productive.

Broad Leafed Batavian    History

Rosette broad, often 16 inches in diameter; leaves entire, toothed at the edges and more or less twisted or waved, with broad, thick, white midribs. The central leaves, being partially turned inwards, serve to cover and protect the heart of the plant, thus forming a sort of a very decided dwarf head. When the plant is in this condition, the French gardeners say that it is "bouclee," or "curled." When well grown and artificially blanched, this plant forms one of the best winter salads. The blanched inner leaves are particularly tender and crisp, and have a fine and very agreeable flavour. This variety is far more extensively cultivated than any other kind.

Moss Curled    History

small growing and rather tender. When well grown and blanched, attractively ornamental.

Endive Salad, American Style (Harder’s Practical American Cookery 1885)    History

Trim and carefully wash the Endives, separate the leaves and put them on a napkin to absorb the moisture. Then put them in a salad bowl, season them with salt, pepper, olive oil and vinegar, and add some fine chopped tarragon and chervil. Put two fine chopped shallots in a towel and dip them in boiling, water for one minute. Then immerse them in cold water, wring them dry and put them in the salad, mixing it gently together. Arrange it properly, placing on the top some fine sliced green bell peppers. Garnish it with hard-boiled eggs cut into quarters. Jules Arthur Harder, Physiology of Taste: Harder’s book of Practical American Cookery, (San Francisco, 1885), p. 159.

Endive (Southern Planter 1849)    History

The endive, after being well picked and washed, must be parboiled in four different waters, to destroy the bitterness peculiar to it. It must then be boiled in salt and water, until done, when it must be thrown into cold water, squeezed and chopped fine. It may then be put into a stew-pan upon a lump of butter, and a few young onions chopped very small added to it. Let it dry, then dredge it with half a table-spoonful of flour, and add some gravy, some seasoning, and two lumps of sugar; let it stew very gently during a quarter of an hour, then serve it up, either alone on sippets, fricandeau, or mutton chops. Southern Planter 9, 1 (January 1849), 25.

Endive as a dinner vegetable (The Young Wife’s Cook Book 1870)    History

Endive forms an excellent vegetable when cooked for the dinner-table in the following manner. Take two good endives, not blanched, separate the leaves, and boil them in two waters to extract the bitter. If still bitter, use a third water. Ten minutes before they are ready, throw in a handful of sorrel leaves. When soft, take them out and strain them; then put them back in the saucepan with a piece of butter the size of a walnut; season with pepper and salt, and add a little of any rich gravy. Shake them well over the fire, and serve as hot as possible. Or, boil the endive, then put it into cold water; drain the water off, and press it well out; take a good tablespoonful of flour, and a piece of butter about the size of a walnut; mix them well near the fire; put this mixture with the vegetable, and about a teacupful of gravy or water; add a little salt and pepper, and stew till quite hot, taking care to avoid burning. Hannah Mary Bouvier Peterson, The Young Wife’s Cook Book (Philadelphia,: T. B. Peterson & Brothers, 1870), pp. 254-55.

Endive in Veloute. (The Cook’s Own Book 1832)    History

Take off all the outer leaves of your endive, and having opened the hearts, put them into cold water to wash them. In the meanwhile heat a kettle of water, put in it a handful of salt, then throw in the endive; keep it constantly under the water, to prevent their turning black. As soon as the endive is tender, drain, and then put it into cold water, and when quite cold, drain it again; press the water out with your hands; then chop it small, and put it into a saucepan, with some butter, salt, and pepper, stir it well, and then add five spoonfuls of veloute, the same of consomme; reduce it till pretty thick, and then put it in a dish, with fried bread round it. Endive may also be dressed with cream, in which case, put two spoonfuls of flour into it, and moisten it with cream. A Boston Housekeeper [Mrs. N. K. M. Lee], The Cook’s Own Book, and Housekeeper’s Register (Boston: Munroe & Francis, 1832), p. 72.

Stewed Endive (The White House Cook Book 1887)    History

Ingredients.—Six heads of endive, salt and water, one pint of broth, thickening of butter and flour, one tablespoonful of lemon juice, a small lump of sugar.
Mode.—Wash and free the endive thoroughly from insects, remove the green part of the leaves, and put it into boiling water, slightly salted. Let it remain for ten minutes; then take it out, drain it till there is no water remaining, and chop it very fine. Put it into a stew-pan with the broth; add a little salt and a lump of sugar, and boil until the endive is perfectly tender. When done, which may be ascertained by squeezing a piece between the thumb and finger, add a thickening of butter and flour and the lemon juice; let the sauce boil up, and serve.
Time.—Ten minutes to boil, five minutes to simmer in the broth. Fanny Lemira Gillett, The White House Cook Book (Chicago: L. P. Miller, 1887), p. 190.

Endive with Milk (What to Eat, and How to Cook It 1863)    History

Take off all the green leaves, clean, cut in two or four, wash well in several waters, and. throw in boiling water with a little salt; boil half an hour, take it out, throw in boiling water, leave two minutes, and drain; press on it in the drainer so as to extract all the water from it, after which chop it fine. Put about two ounces of butter in a stewpan; when melted, sprinkle in it a teaspoonful of flour, also salt and pepper; then put in the endive, say three or four heads, stir with a wooden spoon for ten minutes, after which time you beat two eggs with milk, and put them in the stewpan; keep stirring fifteen minutes longer, and serve. Pierre Blot, What to Eat, and How to Cook It (New York: D. Appleton & Co., 1863), p. 183.

Endive au Jus (Cookery as it Should Be 1856)    History

Split some endive in half, blanch and drain them, season each with some pepper, nutmeg, and salt, and tie the endive together and put them into a stew-pan with some bacon sliced over them; in the same way put in some veal and beef sliced, two onions, two carrots, two cloves and a bunch of sweet herbs, moisten the whole with some rich gravy, stew the endive for three hours, then drain and press them in a cloth, trim and dish them up for table. A Practical Housekeeper, Cookery as it Should Be (Philadelphia: Willis P. Hazard, 1856), p. 150.

Cream of Endive Soup with Poached Eggs (Harder’s Practical Cookery 1885)    History

Prepare one gallon of thickened chicken or veal broth. Trim and wash eight Endives carefully, and boil them in water lightly salted. When boiled immerse them in cold water, then drain them and press them dry. Chop them in small pieces, put them in a saucepan with a piece of butter, and season with salt, pepper, nutmeg, and a pinch of sugar. Put them on a brisk fire and stir them well until the moisture is reduced. Then pour in the chicken broth slowly, and let it boil for twenty minutes. Then skim it and rub it through a fine sieve, and put it back in the saucepan to keep warm. Before serving it dilute eight raw eggs in a pint of cream, and add it to the soup, with six ounces of butter. Stir it all well until the butter is melted. Serve separately a dish of poached eggs in broth. Jules Arthur Harder, Physiology of Taste: Harder’s book of Practical American Cookery, (San Francisco, 1885), p. 160.

Chicory Salad (Fifty Salads 1885)    History

Thoroughly wash and drain two heads of chicory; cut away the green leaves and use them for garnishing, or boil them as greens. Cut off the rootend from the bleached leaves, and put the latter into a salad-bowl that has been rubbed with a clove of garlic. Add half a dozen tarragon leaves, four to six tablespoonfuls of oil, saltspoonful of white pepper, and two saltspoonfuls of salt Mix thoroughly. Now add a tablespoonful of tarragon vinegar, and you have a delightful salad. Thomas J. Murrey, Fifty Salads (New York: White, Stokes, & Allen, 1885), p. 15

Chicory with Cream (How to Cook Vegetables 1893)    History

Wash a quarter of a peck of chicory, throw in a large kettle of salted water and boil half an hour. Then drain and throw into a pan of cold water five minutes. Drain and press gently until dry. Chop fine, put into a saucepan with two ounces of butter, a teaspoonful of sugar, a teaspoonful of salt and a grating of nutmeg; then sprinkle over an even tablespoonful of flour Mix all this well together, add a gill of thick cream, stirring over the fire until boiling hot. Take from the fire. Beat the yolks of three eggs until light, add two tablespoonfuls of cream, stir this into the chicory. Turn into a heated dish and serve garnished with hard-boiled eggs. P. 39.