There are generally two sides to every story. The same rule applies to many foods. The interpretation of the truth lies in the palate of the person enjoying the food in question. And, sometimes, the verdict can change.
My palate picks up on bitterness immediately. It sends in the troops alarming all critical functions to flee from the attacker. While stunning to look at, my red alert flag flew high with my first encounter with raw endive (on-deev). But, once braised with some hearty aged balsamic, sweet honey and tangerine, everything became right (very right) in my world once again.
California Vegetable Specialties, the only producer of Belgian-style endive in the US, recently sent a beautiful and thoughtful endive bouquet to my doorstep for Valentine’s Day. At that moment, I knew my job was to do my best to convert some of you who may still be on dark side of endive’s alluring seduction.
As a member of the chicory family, endive is one of the most intricate vegetables to grow making it highly sought-after and widely adored.
“The first growth takes about 150 days in the field, where the chicory plant grows from seed into a deep root. Tops of the leafy plant are then cut off, roots dug up, and placed in cold storage, where they enter a dormancy period.
As demand necessitates, roots are removed from cold storage for their second growth, which takes 20 to 28 days in dark, cool, and humid forcing rooms, similar to mushroom growing. Thus, endives are available year-round.”
If that’s not enough to pique your interest to give endive another glance, humor me and try this recipe sometime. You may just become a convert yourself.
Balsamic-Honey Braised Endive with Tangerine, Pistachio, Feta + Mint
yield: serves 4 | active time: 15-20 minutes | total time: 30 minutes
- 6 endives, ends trimmed, halved lengthwise
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey (raw or otherwise)
- 1 tablespoon orange or tangerine juice
- 2 tangerines, peeled and segmented
- 2 tablespoons roughly chopped raw, unsalted pistachios
- 2 tablespoons feta
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped mint
- Maldon sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
1. Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in a large cast-iron skillet, or heavy nonstick pan. Once the oil is hot and shimmering, but not smoking, place the endive spears cut side down in pan. Sear for 1-2 minutes or until golden and lightly caramelized.
2. Turn spears over and add balsamic, honey and orange/tangerine juice. Cover and let braise for about 4-6 minutes, or until soft and caramelized. Turn off heat, season with salt and pepper and gently toss in braising liquid. Remove from pan and place on a serving platter.
3. Toss the tangerine segments in the braising liquid and place on serving platter on top of endive. Spoon some of the balsamic braising liquid over the endives and oranges.
4. Top with pistachios, feta and mint. Finish with a little sea salt and pepper, if necessary and desired. Serve immediately.
You might also enjoy some of these recipes using endive.