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Curly Endive, which is often confused with or substituted for Escarole or Frisee when it's this leafy form we have at the Farm, is a versatile pleasure - when you know what to do with it.

Endive is a leaf vegetable belonging to the daisy family. It belongs to the chicory genus, which includes several similar bitter leafed vegetables. Species include endive (Cichorium endivia), Cichorium pumilum and common chicory (Cichorium intybus). Common chicory includes chicory types such as radicchio, puntarelle and Belgian endive.

There are two main varieties of cultivated endive:

Curly endive, or frisée (var crispum). This type has narrow, green, curly outer leaves. It is sometimes called chicory in the United States and is called chicorée frisée in French. Further confusion results from the fact that frisée also refers to a technique in which greens are lightly wilted with oil.

Escarole, or broad-leaved endive (var latifolia) has broad, pale green leaves and is less bitter than the other varieties. Varieties or names include broad-leaved endive, Bavarian endive, Batavian endive, grumolo, scarola, and scarole. It is eaten like other greens, sauteed, chopped into soups and stews, or as part of a green salad.

Endive, or Cichorium endivia, Endive can be cooked or used raw in salads.  Very popular in certain European countries such as Italy and the Netherlands, curly endive is however little known in North America. It is nevertheless becoming more and more present in American and Canadian diets. Endive is rich in many vitamins and minerals, especially in folate and vitamins A and K, and is high in fiber. 

It has powerful cancer fighting properties as well.  During the premiere of the new Dr. Oz Show, Dr. Mehmet Oz and Dr. William Li, a noted cancer researcher, featured foods that can cut the risk of ovarian cancer.  Number one on the list was endive.  In a study of more than 62,000 women in the Netherlands, those who ate endive had a 75% reduction in the risk of ovarian cancer.


Once cooked, curly endive loses some of its bitterness. Therefore, you can, for instance, steam it, drizzle it with olive oil and lemon juice and season it with cinnamon. Otherwise, after having boiled it for 5 to 10 minutes and drained it, you can cook it in a pan with roughly sliced garlic cloves, olive oil, salt and fresh ground pepper. You will then coat it carefully with butter and enjoy it with crusty bread or as a side dish.

Curly Endive Salad With Poached Egg

Curly Endive and Bean Soup