Witlof is a much-loved vegetable in the Netherlands. Better known as Belgian endive in the States, it is one of the three types of cultivated chicory (radicchio and sugarloaf are the other two) that come in many varieties.
Belgian endive is not only readily available year-round, but also is extremely low in carbohydrates, making it ideal for those on low-carb diets. It can be used raw or cooked in endless ways.
The following ways to use witlof are from "Smaakvrienden" (by Angélique Schmeinck and published by Uitgeverij Waanders), a guide to tips, pairings, and recipes for some 80 vegetables. These ideas have been translated and listed here with the permission of the publisher.
7 Ways to Use Witlof
- Caramelize witlof in a little butter with maple syrup and sherry vinegar. Serve with pike perch and baked ceps (porcini mushrooms).
- Make stamppot with mashed potatoes and finely sliced raw witlof and serve it with veal sweetbreads, mushroom salsa and aged boerenkaas.
- Sauté witlof in butter until soft and then cook it with Trappist beer, honey, and sage until caramelized.
- Make a salad by mixing julienned witlof with sour cream, pear, walnuts and crisp-baked pancetta.
- Bake a witlof tarte tatin prepared with date syrup, aceto balsamico (balsamic vinegar) and thyme.
- Stew witlof in butter with orange juice and zest, lemongrass and served with grilled salmon and hollandaise sauce.
- Make a salad with raw witlof, and serve with a yogurt and chive dressing, green apple, and herring.
Recipes Using Witlof
- Dutch Witlof, Bacon, and Walnuts Recipe: This easy appetizer is made by teaming creamy goat cheese, crispy bacon, and crunchy walnuts and placing a scoop on individual endive leaves.
- Dutch Warm Endive Salad Recipe: To tame any bitterness in the endive, it is roasted with olive oil and served with homemade honey-mustard dressing and freshly shaved clove cheese from Friesland, a Netherlands province.
- Dutch Cream of Belgian Endive Soup Recipe: Endive, witbier (white beer), potatoes, garlic and cream go for a swim together to produce this excellent soup.
- Dutch Endive and Goat Cheese Tart Recipe: This appetizer recipe gets the royal treatment with puff pastry, red onions, and soft goat cheese.
- Dutch Endive, Ham, and Potato Gratin Recipe: Every Dutch family seems to have their own version of witlof met ham en kaas. This comfort-food casserole can be made with potatoes in the dish or served on the side.