It’s February. Here we are in the cold north. This time of year we all start itching for spring. I was reading in a magazine this week about the fresh foods that are in season during this month. I was shocked and amazed to find there were things growing this time of year! I was pleasantly surprised to find out that a few of my favorite cabbages are heartily growing and thriving in this dreary, cold month.
Also thriving is the vegetable endive! Belgian endive has to be among one of my favorite little vegetable treats. For some reason, when I use endive in appetizers, salads or entrées, I feel like I made an easy dish that looks and tastes gourmet! I personally find Belgian endive to be delicate in taste, look and texture. One of my favorite things to do with this particular kind of endive is to use it in the form of a “boat.” Whether I am snacking, eating it before a meal, or as the main attraction, I like to stuff the leaves with goodies.
First, I rinse the endive and then pull the leaves off one by one and arrange them on a plate. For quick snacking, I layer refried beans, salsa and a sprig of cilantro. A great way to serve them as an appetizer is to stuff them with pineapple, mango, red onion, shrimp with sea salt and an olive oil drizzle. A filling meal is to jam them with pure protein from either a healthy tuna or chicken salad.
For a heartier filling, you could make a quinoa and black bean salad and fill each leaf with the nutty grain. Truly, the options are limitless and the ways that you can prepare endive are without end. I just wanted to tell you all about my favorite way to eat the tiny leaves. They are perfect size to pick up in your hand and have deep wells that are perfect for filling. You don’t even have to eat them by “stuffing” them. You could chop them or cook them by wilting them whole.
The variety of vegetables we have available to us is so vast and I love to explore all the different flavors and textures that these healthy, low-calorie foods have to offer. There was a day when I couldn’t pick out Belgian endive from a vegetable line up and tell you what it was. With spring around the corner and tons of vegetables that are going to be springing as well, it was nice to find out that endive is flourishing in February! It’s been a long winter here and the delicate leaves of the endive get me excited for all the little delicate leaves, buds, flowers and blooms that I have so desperately missed over the long winter!