About this time every year, I find myself torn. I am looking forward to the sunny days of spring, but feeling a little sad about saying goodbye to the delicious fruits of fall. The weather goes back and forth and it is neither winter nor is it spring — the daffodils are blooming, but it is grey and pouring rain. We have been lucky this year, with lots of sunny days and only the occasional shower.
While you are waiting for summer, welcome spring and savor the last of fall with this pretty salad. I found Belgian Endive at Trader Joe’s, made a very simple dressing, and used what I know will soon be one of the last organic Northwest pears. I used Cypress Grove Humboldt Fog Chèvre (just because!), but you could use blue cheese instead. It looks fancy, but only took me 5 minutes to pull together. This makes enough for 2 salads, so you can either share, or enjoy again tomorrow. Welcome Spring!
3 heads of Belgian Endive
1 Bosc pear
2 T. Cypress Grove Humboldt Fog Chèvre, or blue cheese
2 T. chopped walnuts, toasted
1/2 t. Dijon mustard
1T. white balsamic vinegar
1 T. extra virgin olive oil
Whisk mustard and vinegar in a small bowl. Add a pinch of sea salt, whisking to dissolve. Drizzle oil in while continuing to whisk.
Put walnuts on small plate and microwave on high for 1 minute to toast. Continue microwaving at 30 second intervals, until lightly brown.
Trim bottom off endive and separate the leaves. Arrange on salad plate, alternating white and red leaves to form flower petals. Thinly slice pear. Top endive with pear slices, nesting pear slices into endive leaves. Drizzle vinaigrette by small spoonfuls, as desired. Top with crumbled Chèvre and toasted walnuts. Finish with fresh ground pepper.
Leftover dressing can be covered and stored in refrigerator.
I did a little research on the California Endive website (who knew there even was such a thing?), endive.com , and it gave me so much recipe-ADD that I could barely write this. Did you know that endive (on-deev) is grown in the dark? It is also one of the most difficult vegetables in the world to grow, and requires a two-step process. First it grows 150 days in the field, where it forms a leafy green plant with a deep tap root. Then the leaves are cut off, the root is dug up, and for the next 28 days it stays in a cold, dark, humid forcing room where it will grow again.
Endive is a nutrient dense vegetable. One head has 60 percent the potassium of a banana, and has vitamins B, C, and K as well as calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, folate, and selenium.