A Good Endive Salad
To make this salad, I started building around 4 of the prettiest endives I’ve ever seen. The endives were a gift from my father in law, who loves to go to the farmer’s market on the weekends and who always buys the most beautiful locally farmed endives ever. He also buys the prettiest flowers in huge bunches, but that’s another story.
I usually pair endives with blue cheese, be it a creamy Gorgonzola or a stronger and crumblier Roquefort. But this time I had this nice slab of Taleggio cheese in the fridge, so I decided to use that, along with a little Parmesan. I’d have used walnuts, as I prefer to save pecans for baking, but since I didn’t have any, I used the pecan nuts just as well. The vinaigrette came together quite quickly and reminded me of the traditional Piedmontese dish “Bagna Càuda”, a hot bath of anchovies, olive oil, butter and garlic that is used for dipping raw, boiled or roasted vegetables. While making it, I also made a note to self to plan a Bagna Càuda dinner soon, while it’s still cold outside.
This salad is a breeze to make, apart from having to bake the nuts and the torn bread, everything is done in a matter of minutes. A little squeeze there, a little chopping here, a bit of tossing and voilà, you have a great winter salad to share with a friend as a main dish or to serve four as a starter. If you find yourself in the possession of really pretty endives, then by all means, make this salad, you will not regret it!
Endives Salad with Toasted Pecans, Torn Bread & Cheese
½ cup pecan nuts or walnuts
2-3 slices bread, torn
4 Tblsp olive oil plus additional lugs
Salt & pepper
4 anchovy fillets, drained and finely chopped
2 small or 1 large garlic clove, pressed
1 Tblsp red wine vinegar
50g/2 oz. Taleggio cheese, cut into small pieces
50g/2 oz. Parmesan, broken into small pieces
3-4 endives, sliced crosswise
2 tsp finely grated orange zest
2 Tblsp freshly squeezed orange juice
1 Tblsp white wine vinegar
Preheat your oven to 180C/350F. Toast walnuts on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, tossing occasionally, for 8. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Toss torn bread with a couple of lugs of olive oil on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake, tossing once, until golden brown and toasted for about 10-12 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Place the anchovies, garlic, red wine vinegar, and the 4 Tblsp olive oil in a mortar and pound until you obtain a paste, then season with salt and pepper. In a small bowl, place the toasted nuts, toasted bread, Taleggio, and Parmesan and toss to combine. Add the anchovy dressing and mix everything well. In a large bowl, toss the endives, orange zest, orange juice, and white wine vinegar, then season with salt and pepper. Add the anchovy and nut dressing and mix to combine. Divide among plates and enjoy!