Chicory, otherwise known as Belgium Endive, is a winter salad grown in the dark similar to the forced rhubarb grown famously in West Yorkshire. A popular ingredient in the pro kitchens but underused by the home chef, it's flavour is fresh, slightly peppery and with a bitter finish it pairs perfect with rich duck and its sweet flavour profile, as well as with game birds and roast chicken.
Here I cook the chicory until tender and caramalised and use the juices to add extra flavour to the plate.
This recipe is inspired by our brilliant and hand seasonal
eating guide. Download for yourself
Method for the chicory:
Preheat the oven to gas 6, 200°C, fan 180°C.
Lightly butter an ovenproof tray and arrange the chicory side
by side in the dish, scatter over the garlic cloves and lightly
season with sea salt and thyme sprigs.
Mix 1 tbsp. orange juice with the maple syrup and the sherry
vinegar, then drizzle over the chicory. Dot with the butter then
bake in the oven, uncovered, for 45 minutes, turning the chicory
once if they're getting too dark. They need to be tender when
pierced with a knife.
Grate a little orange zest over the chicory for the last 5
minutes of cooking.
Method for duck breast:
Preheat oven 200°C /180°C fan assisted (gas 6)
Remove your duck out of the packaging, pat dry and bring to
Score the skin with a sharp knife being careful not to cut the
flesh then season with sea salt
Pre heat a griddle or heavy based frying pan over low to medium
heat & place the breasts skin side down onto the pan to render
& crisp the skin draining away any excess fat as it renders
(keep this for amazing roast potatoes) before searing the meat
side, flip back onto the skin then transfer to a pre heated oven
for 8 to 10 minutes reaching a core temperature of 54°C for pink
meat before resting
Leave to rest in a warm place for 5 minutes before
Carve the duck into 2 thick slices across the breast then place
onto warm serving plates with the roast chicory, walnut vinaigrette
and the reserved orange segments.