Photo Credit: A. Kane
Some people call it en-dive, others call it on-deev; call it what you will, I just get excited that a winter vegetable can taste so springy. Endive, or Belgian endive, as it is also known, is a delicate, feathery green that is served both raw and cooked. Part of the chicory family, its brethren are: escarole, radicchio, and frisée. These lettuces come in a variety of different shapes, colors, and tastes, from pleasingly bitter to bracing. Endive is definitely the former.
Once rooted, endive is often forced indoors. This stunts the natural chlorophyll from occurring; that is why the tight heads are so often pale in color. One would think that from all of this, the flavor is very fussy, but the taste is clean and fresh, like a tender stalk of celery with an attitude.
When it is cold out, I like my endive braised, but when the days are a little longer, and a tad bit warmer, I like my endive raw, crisp, and in a salad. This simple salad is made with arugula, another green widely available in the winter months. Tossed with a lemony vinaigrette, and topped with shavings of Parmesan cheese, this salad taps you politely on the shoulder reminding you to say goodbye to winter.
Endive and Arugula Salad
For the salad:
3-4 heads endive
½ bunch of arugula, cleaned and stemmed
¼ cup Parmesan curls
salt and pepper
For the vinaigrette:
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons lemon juice (half of a lemon)
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
½ cup olive oil
salt and pepper
Make the vinaigrette: In a small bowl, mix the mustard, lemon juice, and vinegar together until well blended. Season with salt and pepper. Slowly add the olive oil, to make an emulsion. When dressing is well incorporated, taste for season. Vinaigrette should be slightly tart and acidic. Set aside.
Assembling the salad:Clean the endive, trim the ends, and discard outer leaves. Slice the endive into eighths, making about a quarter-inch spears. Toss gently with arugula leaves. Dress the salad; you will not need all of the dressing. Reserve the rest in the refrigerator for a later use. Sprinkle the salad with salt and pepper. Scatter Parmesan curls on top, and serve.
Adrienne Kane is a writer and photographer. She is the author of a memoir, Cooking and Screaming, and the food blog, nosheteria.com.