How to grow chicory | Alys Fowler
Italians put these bitter greens at the heart of classic peasant dishes. Growing your own is as simple as scatter and go
The taste of bitter greens, swirled into the holy trinity of garlic, olive oil and chilli pepper to make cicoria ripassata alla Romano, is one of those simple yet delicious dishes we all need right now. There’s another, lighter version that calls for lemon juice and salt instead of garlic and chilli. And I go weak at the knees for the Pugliese take, where the greens are comforted in a puree of broad beans and garlic. Better yet, these are some of the easiest of greens to grow: simply open the seed packet and scatter.
These are all classic cucina povera – peasant food – dishes, in this case using chicory leaves, which originally would have been foraged from meadows and field margins. The Italians have made a fine art of this vegetable family – think of all those radicchios and endives.