The chicory family is a dynamic group - they can be frilly or smooth–leaved, tightly-headed or loose-leafed, tapered or round. They come in a rainbow of hues ranging from the purest white and pale yellow to a deep maroon and bright green.
Unlike lettuces, which are chosen for their delicacy and mild flavor, chicories are favored for their bitterness. While it may not be a flavor that our palates actively seek, bitterness is one of the five basic tastes on the tongue and offers a palate cleansing and bright counterbalance to sweetness, saltiness and richness. Spring and summer temperatures lead to incredibly bitter and tough chicory leaves, therefore this cool-weather crop thrives in the fall.
Chicories’ bite and crisp texture pair well with rich and sweet ingredients like nuts, fruits, sharp cheeses, smoked salmon, bacon, ham and olive oil, and you can cut through their bitterness with acids like vinegar and lemon juice.
Chicory varieties include escarole, frisee, radicchio, sugarloaf, curly endive and loose-headed chicory, and can be eaten fresh or sauteed, stir-fried, grilled, braised and even baked into a gratin. We are looking forward to highlighting and weaving this unique leafy ingredient into each of our delicate tasting plates in October.
Reservations for October's Chicory Menu open 1st September 2016.