Perfecting the Fall Salad — A la recherche de la salade automnale parfaite

Do you remember this vegetable?

L’endive

Do you buy it?

I used to dislike its taste. Bitter in my salad? Ah, non merci ! I hate when it is amer! I do not want this, please! It was even worse when les endives were cooked. But one French proverb says: il n’y a que les idiots qui ne changent pas d’avis (only idiots do not change their mind). And so here goes my story. I decided that I wanted to use endives again, despite the fact that I rarely buy them. Cause? I rediscovered the pleasure of eating this vegetable when recently going out, and hop, the next time I was at the farmer’s market, some landed in my cart. Ni plus, ni moins.

When I made this salad, P. pinpointed to one interesting thing. La cannelle, Cinnamon.” C’est une salade au goût bien américain, ça,” I heard him say (It’s a salad with a real American taste). I could not agree more.

Very simple to make, but displaying bursting-out flavors that complement each other subtely. You find the stronger taste of a blue cheese like Fourme d’Ambert — yet not overpowering as it is a mild blue cheese — the sweetness of cinnamon in glorious Anjou Pears, the crunchiness of caramelized nuts and the mild bitterness of the endives. You add a nut-flavored vinaigrette and you obtain what can be defined as a real seasonal fall salad. I made this salad a few times, once with Fourme d’Ambert, once with a fresh goat cheese as I wanted an excuse to make more of the caramelized nuts, which we always end up eating as a snack.

Endives are known to be bitter in taste, which makes many people shy away from them — like myself. One little trick is to know where the bitterness comes from. If you think of removing the small cone at the base of the vegetable, you will see that the bitterness significantly diminishes.Typically these vegetables-that-grow-in-the-dark are presented under the form of leaves. I find that cutting them in long sticks makes it more fun to eat them in a salad, as well as easier to present on a plate. For a second, if you do not know what the sticks are, you wonder what they are until you toss one in your mouth. At this point, the endive can no longer fool you as its taste slowly develops, right there.

Endives, you are welcomed on my table again.

A Pear, Endive and Caramelized Pecan Salad

You need:

  • 2 endives
  • A nice handleful of green salad medley, such as mesclun or mâche
  • 2 red Anjou pears
  • 3.5 oz fresh goat cheese, I used a Cabriflore or a blue cheese, like Fourme d’Ambert
  • Vinaigrette (see below)
  • 1/3 cup fresh pecans halves
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • A dash of cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp liquid flower honey


Steps:

  • Start by caramelizing your nuts. Preheat your oven at 385 F.
  • Take a non-stick frying and melt 1 large Tbsp butter. Coat the nuts in it and add 1 Tbsp honey. Continue to coat for 1 to 2 mns. Place the pecans on a baking sheet and cook them for about 10 mns, checking that they do not turn too dark. Place them on a cooling rack.
  • To make the pears, wash, peel and core them. Cut them in quarters that you cut once more into halves.
  • Coat them gently in cinammon.
  • Heat 1 Tbsp butter in a non-stick frying pan and cook the pears on high heat for 1 to 2 mns on each side. Remove and keep on the side.
  • Wash the endives and salad.
  • Dice the cheese.
  • Remove the cone base of the endives and their yellow leafy parts. Cut them in long sticks.
  • Place the endive sticks and salad in a bowl and season with the vinaigrette (1.5 Tbsp white balsamic vinegar mixed with 3 Tbsp walnut oil, salt and pepper). Toss well.
  • Take individual plates and start assembling your salad. Put the salad bed first, then decorate with a few slices of pears, the caramelized pecans and the cheese. Serve immediately.

Le coin français
Salade aux poires, endive et pécanes caramélisées

(Pour 4 personnes)

Ingrédients :

  • 2 endives
  • Deux belles poignées de mélange de salade, mesclun ou mâche
  • 2 poires Anjou
  • 100 g de fromage de chèvre frais, j’ai utilisé un Cabriflore ou un bleu tel qu’une Fourme d’Ambert
  • Vinaigrette (voir ci-dessous)
  • 1/3 cup de pécanes
  • 40 g de beurre
  • Une pincée de cannelle en poudre
  • 1 càs de miel aux fleurs liquide


Étapes :

  • Commencez par caraméliser vos noix. Préchauffez le four à 190 C.
  • Prenez une poêle anti-adhésive et faites fondre 20 g de beurre. Ajoutez les noix et le miel liquide et faites revenir pendant 1 à 2 min pour que les noix soient bien enrobées. Placez-les sur une plaque de cuisson recouverte de papier aluminium ou de papier sulfurisé, et faites cuire au four pendant 10 min environ, en vérifiant souvent pour vous assurer que les noix ne grillent pas de trop. Retirez-les et laissez-les refroidir sur une grille.
  • Pour préparer les poires, lavez-les, pelez-les et retirez la partie centrale dure. Coupez-les en quartiers puis à nouveau en tranches.
  • Saupoudrez-les légèrement avec un peu de cannelle en poudre.
  • Faites fondre 20 g de beurre dans une poêle anti-adhésive, et faites revenir les poires de chaque côté, pendant 1 à 2 min, sur feu vif. Retirez-les et mettez-les de côté.
  • Lavez les endives et la salade.
  • Coupez le fromage en dés.
  • Retirez la base conique et les petites feuilles jaunes des endives, et coupez-les en bâtonnets fins.
  • Mettez les bâtonnets d’endive dans un saladier avec le mélange de salade et assaisonnez de vinaigrette (1,5 càs de vinaigre de balsamique blanc émulsionné avec 3 càs d’huile de noix, sel et poivre). Mélangez bien.
  • Prenez des assiettes et commencez à arranger votre salade. Formez un nid avec la salade et décorez avec les poires, le fromage et les pécanes. Servez de suite.
Posted in Appetizers, Fruit, Gluten Free, Salad, Vegetarian | 34 Comments

34 comments

  1. Waou, quelle salade, hélas, je ne parviens pas à digérer les chicons crus, je voulais dire les endives !

  2. Oh, thank you Béa! This is a beautiful salad. Beautiful flavors and so many variations.

  3. I’ve always loves endives, cooked, raw, you name it! Your salad looks wonderfully delicious for an endive love like myself… and a pear lover and a carmalized nut lover…

  4. betement, je me bornais aux endives avec pommes et noix, je vais bien vite tester cette variante ultra tentante, d’autant que j’adore les endives!

  5. What a beautiful salad, Béa! I have always loved endive. In fact, I do love bitter greens so I don’t mind eating it in salads. But I love the idea of combining it with something sweet like a pear. And the cinnamon is a very nice touch!

    A beautiful salad, indeed!

  6. Quand j’etais gosse, les endives au jambon noyees sous la bechamel ca passait mais en salade non! Maintenant j’adore ca. Je trouve wue les endives aux USA ont un gout plus doux qu’en France, moins amer.
    Tres bonne recette, bien tentante!

  7. Tu as l’art de revisiter le terroir, de le sublimer de la plus belle manière avec cette touche très actuelle; vieux continent, nouveau monde…
    Quelle chance, j’ai tout ce qu’il faut, je cours vers la cuisine ! Merci

  8. pear and endive are a classically wonderful taste combination. But it’s starting to get cold here… better start perfecting the winter salad!

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  10. I’m no fan of bitter either, Bea. But I’m always game to change my mind. This recipe looks really good. Pity there’s no endive here for me to try!

  11. I love to use the individual endive leaves as scoops for dip. Your salad looks scrumptious. The bitter leaves with the pears and pecans? Perfect!

  12. J’adore, comme toujours !!! Une salade simple et au combien efficace je pense. Je note directement dans les choses à faire…et bravo pour tes photos, sublimes comme toujours. J’aime beaucoup la première je dois dire

    A bientôt
    Amitiés
    Claude

  13. Seuls les imbeciles ne changenet pas d’avis. Je me demandent quand les miens vont se mettre a l’endive. Si j’essayais ta salade peut-etre?

  14. I love endives whether they are stir-fried, eaten raw (salad or dips) or oven baked in sauce!
    Your salad looks very scrumptuous!

  15. Beautiful salad Bea…I’ve always loved bitter anything, but this recipe with caramelized pecans sounds like such a winner!

  16. I always like to add endives in my salad. They always make it look pretty. The bitter taste is very much welcome especially complemented with a dressing of balsamic vinegar and a good oil (walnut or olive).

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  19. J’ai fait cette recette lors d’un diner entre amis, et tout le monde a adore!
    C’est un melange assez inattendu mais c’etait exquis. J’ai fait fondre un peu le fromage par contre avant de le servir ( pour adoucir le gout du chevre…)
    Merci pour la partager avec nous…

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