Raw endives are slightly bitter, often ingredients of salads but delicious both cooked and baked. After peeling the leaves you have the precious core, the “mini endive” called “gourilos”. The vegetable comes from 1850 when a belgian farmer started to experiment with wild cichory. Later a belgian botanist developed the modern cichory which appeared around 1879 first in Paris.
You won’t get the same vegetable on a market if you ask for it in Belgium or let’s say in the US. There are so many variants of the vegetable and confusingly it's called differently around the world. Most commonly it’s called cichory in England and Endive or belgian endive in the US.
If you are after endive in England you will most probably get the frilly salad type. But a personal experience of mine shows that you don’t even have to travel to abroad for the confusion. I told the recipe to my mother who knew chicory as the salad. She was cooking this dish for my father for some time already when it turned out that she is using a completely different vegetable than she should.
Funnily I ate my first baked endives in Paris. by the traditional recipe the leaves have to be boiled for few minutes in water then layer it with Jambon de Paris, white wine sauce and Gruyère cheese, then bake it until top is golden baked. It became such a favourite dish that we almost make it every or second week.
It is also perfect for weekdays as it’s ready in no time. We highly recommend our time saving version with heaps of crème fraîche, and old dutch cheeses especially the one with cumin.