Chicory

Chicory

Chicory, or cichorium intybus, is a bushy perennial herb with blue, lavender, or occasionally white flowers. It grows as a wild plant on roadsides in its native Europe, and in North America and Australia. The chicory root is also often ground and used as a coffee substitute or roasted and added to beer to give it a unique flavor.

Commonly cultivated varieties include Belgian endive, radicchio, and puntarelle. Belgian endive (not to be confused with endive, a close relative of the chicory), is a crisp, pale yellow chicory with bitter leaves that are excellent grilled or stuffed and served as an hors d’oeuvre.

Often referred to as Italian chicory, radicchio is a dark maroon color with leaves that have white veins and a bitter taste that can be reduced through cooking. Different varieties are named according to the Italian region from which they originated. The most well-known variety is the Chioggia, which can grow to the size of the grapefruit. In Italy, radicchio is often eaten grilled or cooked with olive oil and in the United States, the leaves are often eaten raw in salads. Radicchio can also be found mixed in pastas, pizzas, and risottos.

The slender, serrated leaves of the puntarelle have many of the same distinctive tastes and characteristics as its relatives. Its crisp leaves are said to have the spiciness of arugula with hints of fennel, and the shoots have the texture of celery. Puntarelle is traditionally used raw in salads and is classically served with a heavy dressing, often with anchovies, that helps sweeten its bitter notes. Some chefs recommend soaking the leaves in water for a few hours before cooking, allowing the leaves to curl, becoming juicier and less tart.

In Season

January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December

Recipes with Chicory

Chicory Salad with Lemon Thyme Vinaigrette

Chris Aguirre, Four Seasons Hotel San Francisco

Winter Chicory Salad

Patrick Clark, Sutro’s Restaurant at the Cliff House

Escarole and Cannellini Zuppa

Christophe Hille, A16.

Articles about Chicory

July 18, 2014

Meet Marcy

CUESA is excited to welcome our new executive director, Marcy Coburn! Find out what inspires her work.

July 11, 2014

Farm Tripping

Summer is prime time for agritourism. Here’s our list of local U-picks, tours, and other farm fun.

July 09, 2014

A Fond Farewell from Critical Edge Knife Sharpening

Bob Kattenburg retires after 19 years as the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market’s knife sharpener.

July 04, 2014

On the Farm at Marin Roots

Take a behind-the-scenes look at organic veggie growing with the young farmers at Marin Roots Farm.

July 02, 2014

Volunteer of the Month: Rafael Zuniga

Rafael’s passion for good food stems from his work with children and youth.

About CUESA

CUESA (Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture) is dedicated to cultivating a sustainable food system through the operation of the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market and its educational programs. Learn More »