Chicory belongs to the same family as endive, radicchio, dandelion and escarole, all of which carry a somewhat bitter flavor. The vegetable has a variety of looks and colors, and has a root and leaves, both of which are edible. The chicory root is known for being the main ingredient in chicory coffee; the root is baked and ground up to be brewed. The leaves can be eaten raw or cooked.
Prepping and Storing
Cut the leaves off the chicory and rinse them under cool running water. Pat them dry with a paper towel or use a salad spinner to dry the leaves. Store chicory in the refrigerator for optimum freshness. Keep it loosely wrapped in paper towels so moisture does not wilt the leaves.
Add the chicory leaves to salad, mixed in with other greens such as spinach, lettuce, cabbage or romaine. The bitterness of the chicory leaves goes well with foods that are rich in flavor, such as fruit or cheese, or with the fat in foods such as salmon or nuts. A creamy salad dressing would also go well to complement the bitter leaves. Place a leaf or two on your sandwich, or create chicory leaf wraps with tuna, egg, or chicken salad.
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