A cross between white endive and red-leafed Italian chicory, both of which are part of the botanical family Cichorium. Endigia is proprietary, created by the French government during a decade-long propagation program. The magenta-colored leaves have a pearlescent white base and veins. The darker portions are slightly bitter while the lighter areas are somewhat sweet, the combination of which hints of nuttiness. Endigia is available year round, but typically only in specialty produce markets and through mail order. The small heads should have crisp, full-colored leaves with no sign of browning or wilting. Store in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to a week. Endigia has a crisp texture and may be used raw in salads or cooked by grilling, sautéing or baking.
From The Food Lover's Companion, Fourth edition by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst. Copyright © 2007, 2001, 1995, 1990 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.