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Roast Red Chicory

by . Featured in AT MY TABLE
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Introduction

If you’re of the bitter-is-better school of eating — which I emphatically am — then this is for you. I think there isn’t a week that goes past when I don’t cook this, and I often make it just to let it get cold and eat it as a salad whenever I feel the urge. But even if you are hesitant about bitterness, this may still be for you: the oven mellows the rasping bite of the raw chicory and, for reasons I don’t quite understand, the dry white vermouth makes it sweeten as it cooks. If you don't want to use the vermouth, replace with 45ml / 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice mixed with the same amount of water. I know the thyme is just for sprinkling on top, but I don't regard it as optional; its flavour is essential to this dish, for me.

If you can't get red chicory, of course you can use regular white chicory. It can have slightly more bitterness (not a bad thing in my book) and is rather less appealing to the eye, but the recipe works in exactly the same way.

For US cup measures, use the toggle at the top of the ingredients list.

If you’re of the bitter-is-better school of eating — which I emphatically am — then this is for you. I think there isn’t a week that goes past when I don’t cook this, and I often make it just to let it get cold and eat it as a salad whenever I feel the urge. But even if you are hesitant about bitterness, this may still be for you: the oven mellows the rasping bite of the raw chicory and, for reasons I don’t quite understand, the dry white vermouth makes it sweeten as it cooks. If you don't want to use the vermouth, replace with 45ml / 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice mixed with the same amount of water. I know the thyme is just for sprinkling on top, but I don't regard it as optional; its flavour is essential to this dish, for me.

If you can't get red chicory, of course you can use regular white chicory. It can have slightly more bitterness (not a bad thing in my book) and is rather less appealing to the eye, but the recipe works in exactly the same way.

For US cup measures, use the toggle at the top of the ingredients list.

Image of Nigella's Roast Red Chicory
Photo by Jonathan Lovekin

Ingredients

Serves: 3-4

Metric Cups
  • 500 grams red chicory (4-5 heads) quartered lengthways
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt flakes
  • 4 x 15ml tablespoons (60ml) regular olive oil
  • 6 x 15ml tablespoons (90ml) dry white vermouth
  • thyme (a few sprigs)
  • 1 pound red endives (4-5 heads) quartered lengthways
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ cup (60ml) regular olive oil
  • ⅓ cup (90ml) dry white vermouth
  • thyme (a few sprigs)

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C Fan/400°F. Arrange the quartered red chicory spears, cut-side up, in a shallow roasting tin in which they sit snugly. Sprinkle with sea salt flakes and pour over the olive oil and vermouth. Turn the spears in the pan then sit them cut-side up again before putting into the oven to roast for 30 minutes until the leaves are slightly charred and wilted and the cores soft.
  2. Take out of the oven and let the darkened, softened red chicory sit in the tin for 10 minutes before transferring to a plate, making sure you pour every bit of juice over. If there are any sticky caramelised bits in the pan, de-glaze with a spoonful of boiling water and pour over, too. Strew with thyme and serve.
  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C Fan/400°F. Arrange the quartered red endives spears, cut-side up, in a shallow roasting tin in which they sit snugly. Sprinkle with kosher salt and pour over the olive oil and vermouth. Turn the spears in the pan then sit them cut-side up again before putting into the oven to roast for 30 minutes until the leaves are slightly charred and wilted and the cores soft.
  2. Take out of the oven and let the darkened, softened red endives sit in the tin for 10 minutes before transferring to a plate, making sure you pour every bit of juice over. If there are any sticky caramelised bits in the pan, de-glaze with a spoonful of boiling water and pour over, too. Strew with thyme and serve.

Additional Information

MAKE AHEAD:
Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

MAKE AHEAD:
Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

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