Witlof is a variety of salad green that is equally good raw or cooked. It’s related to radicchio, and has similarly crisp leaves to that vegetable. Its leaves are tightly packed and white in colour, with pale green tips. They have a crisp texture and delicate, slightly bitter flavour. Available all year round, witlof is good in salads, served as edible containers for finger food, or cooked in vegetable dishes.
Look for witlof with tightly packed leaves and no brown tinges
Store witlof wrapped in brown paper (this preserves its white colour and prevents it from turning green and bitter) in the crisper section of your fridge for up to 2 days
Remove and discard any tougher outside leaves then cut a thin slice off the base and separate the leaves. Wipe leaves with a damp cloth then keep whole or slice as required.
For a fresh winter side dish, thickly slice witlof leaves then set aside. Cook diced bacon until golden and crisp then add witlof and a little butter. Cook until witlof is tender. Stir through chopped parsley then serve with roast meats.
For a fresh salad, thinly slice witlof leaves then toss together with mixed salad leaves. Add thin slices of apple, crumbled creamy blue cheese and chopped toasted pecan nuts. Drizzle with a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar then serve.
For a fresh appetiser, separate whole witlof leaves. Spoon a little cottage cheese into each leaf then top with chopped toasted walnuts, pine nuts and raisins. Serve with drinks.