The salad you need to make this holiday season.
Holiday dishes don’t get better than this.
It’s festive, chic — and unbelievably effortless. In short, everything you want when you want to impress, but are loathe to break out in a sweat to do it.
Leave it to the Bay Area’s Joanne Weir to come up with this dazzling “Endive Salad with Lemon Creme Fraiche and Salmon Roe.”
It’s from her new cookbook, “Kitchen Gypsy: Recipes and Stories From A Lifelong Romance with Food” (Oxmoor House), of which I received a review copy.
The cookbook is filled with the dishes that most influenced the life of this long-time PBS cooking show host, who cooked for five years at Berkeley’s Chez Panisse, and now owns Copita in Sausalito.
Endive braised with gorgonzola that can top so many different things.
Every winter, when I get a “bouquet” of endive from California Vegetable Specialties,” it’s always a welcome delivery.
That’s because it makes me rediscover how versatile this year-round vegetable is.
Europeans consume as much as 15 pounds per year of endive. But Americans? We partake of a mere ounce a year.
I admit I often don’t do much better than that, myself, reaching for the slender white or red chicory occasionally to spiff up salads for company.
The Rio Vista company is the only producer of endive in the country. And yes, that’s “on-deev,” in the French manner, which are grown in the dark.
But there’s so much more you can do with endive than just separate the leaves to toss into salads.
“Braised Endive with Gorgonzola” is one example. This incredibly simple recipe is from “Vegetable Literacy” (Ten Speed Press), of which I received a review copy. It’s by Deborah Madison, former chef of Greens in San Francisco, and expert on vegetable-based cooking. It includes more than 300 recipes for 12 different plant families. She gives fascinating insight into what vegetables are related to one another, how to use the entire vegetable, and best flavorings to use with each.
Endive salad with creamy Maytag blue cheese.
When it comes to bitter, its best buddy is something equally aggressive.
Oh, don’t worry. This isn’t a case of butting heads.
In fact, it’s a recipe for perfect harmony, as one assertive taste needs another, lest one overtake the other completely.
That’s why when it comes to endive, its pleasant bitterness practically begs for something sharp like mustard or vinegar or a piquant cheese.
“Tangle of Radicchio and Endive with Chives and Maytag Blue” proves just that.