Sugarloaf, a member of the Chicory family, is similar to Cos Lettuce with the leaves folding into a dense head that are green on the outside and light yellow inside. It has a nutty bitter that becomes milder as it ripens. Sugarloaf is a very good source of vitamin A, C & K, and iron.
Storage: To keep sugarloaf for as long as possible, wash and dry it by shaking out the leaves, wrap it in a damp cloth and keep in the fridge crisper. Don’t wrap too tightly as it may encourage rotting.
General Use: Use 2 heads per person when cooking or in salad 1. It can be used as Witloof, Spinach, Endive or Lettuce. The bitterness can be minimised by soaking briefly in lukewarm water before use.
Boiled: Place the sugarloaf in a pan of water and gently cook for 15 to 20 minutes until tender. Add a few drops of lemon juice to the cooking water to keep the sugar loaf white.
Grilled: Preheat the grill to high, trim the sugarloaf and rinse in cold water then cut into quarters lengthways. Mix olive oil, lemon juice, seasoning and oregano, brush a baking tray with the mixture and arrange the sugarloaf on the tray brushing liberally. Grill until tender and beginning to char.
Baked: Preheat oven. Trim stalk ends of the sugarloaf, discard any limp or tired outer leaves, then cut lengthways into quarters. Pour olive oil over the bottom of a large shallow baking dish and arrange the sections of sugarloaf, cut-side up, in a single layer. Pour over a little stock or water and cover with foil. Bake for 10 minutes until tender.
Roasted: Pre-heat the oven to high. Lay the sugarloaf on a roasting tray (cut in half lenghways if large). Season and spoon over olive oil. Cook for 20 minutes turning often.
Sautéed: Heat olive oil over medium heat. Cook garlic with red-pepper flakes until golden. Add sugarloaf, stirring to coat. Increase heat to medium-high and cook stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has evaporated (3-5 minutes). Stir in sea salt to taste.
Salad: Mix together the sugarloaf, carrot and chives. Add olive oil, lemon juice and balsamic vinegar and toss thoroughly.