The beauty of chicory is that it requires very little preparation and there is almost no wastage. To enjoy it at its best, buy chicory when the leaf tips are yellow, if it has green tips it is likely to be too bitter for salads.
Uses: Chicory is great raw in salads, but it can also be braised, roasted, used in hors d'oeuvres, stir-fries and soups. Available all year.
To store: It can be kept in the fridge for up to 1 week.
To prepare: Chicory can be cut various ways: sliced lengthways, chopped, diced or cut into julienne strips. Alternatively, peel off the leaves and use them for salads, decoration or as canapé shells. If you find the base bitter, hollow it out and remove before serving. To stop the chicory discolouring, prepare, then drop into diluted lemon juice and drain.
To cook: Cut off the end of the stalk and cook the whole bulb in salted water until tender. Serve with cheese sauce or sprinkled with paprika or chopped parsley.