Take the Bitter with the Sweet
I’ve been to an endive farm and I’ve seen how they’re cultivated. But I hadn’t noticed that an endive, while still attached to its chicory root base, looks like a French tulip.
Whoever saw that similarity was brilliant. And whoever gathered them into a bouquet to gift food writers at Valentine’s Day was inspired.
Once again, a few days before February 14, I received such a bouquet from California Endive Farms to remind me how much I love these crisp vegetables, with their nutty, sweet flavor and slightly bitter edge. I lopped off the chicory root to toss, and bagged my treasured heads of endive in plastic, thinking about the delectable possibilities…
- Slice them crosswise and combine with slices of apple or pear, a crumble of blue cheese or feta, a sprinkling of toasted walnuts or pecans, and a drizzle of balsamic vinaigrette.
- Separate the leaves and use them as an elegant carrier for a bit of smoked salmon or trout spread, spooned on the base of each leaf, for a simple hors d’oeuvre.
- Use it in place of lettuce to add lovely crunch to sandwiches.
- Grill halves or stir-fry cut pieces.
4 large red or white endives (4 or 5 ounces each)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Trim off a thin slice from the stem end of the endives, but do not cut off stem completely. Halve endives lengthwise. Arrange on a shallow roasting pan, cut sides up. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
Roast about 20 minutes, turning endives over halfway during roasting. Endives are done when a knife pierces easily in the thickest part of the stem.
Serve hot, warm or at room temperature.
Serves 4 to 6.
- To gild the lily, sprinkle each endive half with a tablespoon of shredded Jarlsberg or Gruyere cheese before roasting; do not turn during roasting.
- For a salad, drizzle roasted endives with a balsamic vinaigrette made from one part balsamic vinegar to three parts extra virgin olive oil; season to taste with salt and pepper.
- If you have leftovers, incorporate roasted endive leaves into a grilled cheese sandwich, or chop and add to a salad.
Here are other roasted vegetable recipes from our Special Fork recipe database:
- Spice Roasted Cauliflower, a recipe by Lori Powell, seasons these mild-tasting florets with a blast of cumin, coriander, capers and sherry vinegar.
- Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Cranberry Browned Butter features roasted Brussels sprouts tossed with a butter mixture of cranberries, maple syrup, fresh ginger and orange zest.
- Thyme-scented Roasted Vegetables & Beets starts with pickled beets for instant flavor. Baby carrots, onion wedges and shallots are the supporting players.
- Roasted Vegetables, another recipe by Lori Powell, is a simple and tasty way to cook winter vegetables; the recipe includes a variety of imaginative ways to use any leftovers.
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