As much as I enjoy Lux's metaphor for WASPs-as-poky-peculiar-pallid-veggies, I don't share his dislike for Belgian endive. (I do share his dislike for skimpy salad portions, and the prickly establishments that serve them. IT'S SALAD. PENNIES. Pile it on, gawddammit.)
I like that they're so distinctively waxy, crisp and bitter--when an endive snaps in your teeth, it can be mistaken for little else. The separated curls of each leaf are sharp little gondolas for all manner of things runny and rich: Soft cheeses, fondue, crab or artichoke dip.
Think celery but more fay, and meaner. Or if bok choy had light-deprived, bitterly-ankle-biting midget cousins.
I tend to slice them into 1/2-inch cuticles and toss them with crumbled blue cheese (hullo, Cabrales!), chunks of green apple or pear, honey, and black pepper. Pungent, sweet, crunchy and spicy, there's nothing chaste or clerical about it.
Cooking endives is something I've never done, but am muy curious about; the French tend to make them into gratin, which sounds silky-sexy-comforting.
I think that even Thomas Lux may concede in this case: Nothing is so irritatingly twee that it can't be made delicious by covering it in rustic pig and cream. Some time ago, the effervescent Matt Armendariz posted a simple but gorgeous recipe for Braised Endive that has lingered in the recesses of must-try: Winter project? NodNODnod.
P.S. Where have I been? Mostly, trying to plot a way to puke into this guy's hat.