Belgian Endive and Walnut Salad (Salade de Chicorèe à l’Huile de Noix)
Growing endive is a two part process. First, the farmer plants and grows chicory, a bitter green that grows in bunches with very curly leaves. After the chicory is pulled from the soil, the root is cut off and planted in buckets or boxes of moist, very sandy soil and left to grow in a dark room. Eventually, the root produces a tightly closed bud, which is the endive.
Walnut oil is highly prized in France for its mild, nutty flavor that pairs so well with the fresh, bitter flavor and crispness of endive.
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
3 heads Belgian endive
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons walnut oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1⁄4 cup toasted walnut pieces
Remove and discard any discolored outer leaves from the endive.
Halve the heads of endive lengthwise and cut out the bottom core. Cut vertically into 1⁄2-inch pieces.
Place the endive in a salad bowl. Toss with the lemon juice and walnut oil. Season with salt and pepper.
Sprinkle with the toasted walnuts and serve.
The easiest way to toast walnuts is in a skillet on top of the stove. Place a single layer of nuts in an appropriately sized pan. Heat over medium heat. Because you don’t want the nuts to brown too much and become bitter, pay close attention and turn once when they begin to brown on one side.
Remove from the heat when browned evenly on both sides. Let them cool to room temperature before using.