For Valentine’s Day, I received a beautiful bouquet of…endive! The California Endive folks cleverly take advantage of the endive’s chicory root base to serve as the “stem” for the endive “flower,” which is a ringer for a French tulip. Gathered together in a bunch, wrapped in cellophane and tied with a red bow, it’s the prefect, edible valentine bouquet.
Endive is one of my favorite vegetables, so in no time, I was slicing some up for a salad. My favorite combination is to team endive with apples or pears, toasted walnuts and blue cheese, and toss with a slightly sweet dressing. The combination of the crisp, clean and slightly bitter endive, contrasted with the sweetness of winter fruits, the nutty crunch of walnuts and the creamy bite of blue cheese is a classic.
One of the most fascinating food tours I’ve ever taken was to California Endive’s farm a few years ago, where I learned how this remarkable plant is grown. Read my previous post to find out how. It’s quite a fascinating process.
Endive Salad with Apples and Blue Cheese
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cup cubed apple (1 medium apple) or pear
2 heads endive, cut crosswise in wide ribbons
2 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
1/3 cup toasted walnuts
To make dressing, in small bowl, combine vinegar, mustard and salt and whisk to blend; dribble oil in steady stream, whisking until mixture is thickened. In salad bowl, combine apple, endive, and two-thirds of the cheese and walnuts. Toss with enough dressing to lightly coat the salad ingredients. (Depending on the size of your endive heads, you may have more dressing than needed.) Top with remaining cheese and nuts and serve immediately. Makes 4 servings.
At this time of the year, winter salads add a welcome freshness to heavier menus featuring soups, stews and casseroles. Here are some other winter salads from our Special Fork database:
- Katie Barreira’s Escarole Salad with Grapefruit, Pistachios and Ricotta Salata is a delicious and hearty salad brightened with citrus. This salad keeps crisp even after being dressed.
- Linda Anusasananan massages kale leaves with salad dressing to tenderize them in her sensational Lemony Kale Salad with Apples and Nuts.
- Cabbage makes a perfect winter salad, as in Cabbage Salad with California Raisins. Apples and raisins add fruity flavor to this creamy slaw.
- Warm Winter Salad by Lori Powell features kale and Brussels sprouts in an appetizing, warm main dish salad for one.
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