*Disclosure: I am so pleased to be working with the wonderful folks from California Endive Farms again. I receive complementary boxes of endive and I am being compensated to develop recipes to share with you in the coming months; all opinions expressed here are 100% mine.
The great thing about being an “endive ambassador” is the seemingly never-ending supply of this healthy vegetable in my refrigerator; I’ve eaten endive all winter long just about everyday and in many, many ways. I love it both raw and cooked, but for different reasons. When it’s raw, endive functions like a bitter green that’s excellent for digestion; when it’s cooked, the bitter flavor mellows so endive makes a palate-pleasing side dish. No matter how you choose to eat it, though, endive is high in vitamins and fiber, but low in calories and carbohydrates; it’s also grown in the USA and is unique because it’s always “in season”.
The preparation of baked endive you see here was adapted from a sweet book I picked up in my local independent book store last weekend: Mr. Wilkinson’s Vegetables: A Cookbook to Celebrate the Garden. The original recipe calls for fennel, but I had a hunch endive would work very well in its stead: it did. This recipe also includes anchovies, and I know this may scare some of you a bit, but anchovies in a dish like this are pretty magical. They add a wonderfully salty flavor! I used anchovies from Vital Choice, which are harvested sustainably and contain protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamin D (so this dish quite nutritious). If you don’t want to give the anchovies a try, though, it’s okay to omit them.
For the breadcrumbs, I suggest you use a traditional sourdough loaf (or ciabatta, as recommended in the original recipe). I definitely could have torn mine into smaller pieces, so feel free to do that. If you avoid bread because you eat a low-carb or paleo diet, this dish will be just fine if you leave the breadcrumbs off. If you are gluten free but you like the idea of the breadcrumbs, use your favorite sturdy gluten-free bread.