This week’s Ingredients Uncovered, a series I run over on Instagram that looks at ways to use ingredients more versatilely, was all about ways to bitter leaves. I also talked about why we should eat them.
Bitter leaves include more commonly known varieties such as radicchio, endive, rocket (aka arugula in North America), friseé dandelion and other lesser known leaves like castelfranco, escarole, punterelle. Nutritionally, bitter leaves are a great source of Vitamins A &K, folate (B9), calcium and great for supporting liver function. They are also a source of kaemperferol, and important plant chemical with anti-inflammatory properties as well as brain and heart protective benefits.
My advice for cooking these is to make sure you balance the bitter flavour using the flavours from the other ingredients. You can also mellow the bitterness by cooking. Here are my tips for creating balance, you’ll need something…
- Sweet (fruits like apples, pears and berries or honey),
- Sour (like vinegar or lemon),
- Salty (anchovies, Parmesan, capers or salted nuts) and
- I like the addition of something creamy ( yogurt, white beans or cheese).
To help give you some inspo, here is a little edit that I have compiled of delicious recipes using bitter leaves that I think you should give a go!
- Pasta— Anna Jones’ recipe for pasta with radicchio and balsamic dressing | Food | The Guardian
- Salad– Puntarelle alla romana recipe / Riverford
- Grilled– Grilled chicory with pomegranate molasses recipe | delicious. magazine
- Tart– Upside-down chicory tart recipe | BBC Good Food
- Pesto– Dandelion Pesto – David Lebovitz
Enjoy experimenting with these deliciously vibrant and flavourful leaves!