Belgian endive is a crisp, slightly bitter lettuce with white and yellow leaves, but sometimes you can find them in a purple/yellow color. Belgian endive and beets are a perfect study in contrasts. The sweet tender beets offset the slightly bitter, crispy endive, and the color contrasts are stunning.
With that said, I do add a bit of mache greens to heighten this lovely salad. The awesome blue cheese I use is from Germany and it’s called champagne noir. And it is undoubtedly the best tasting blue cheese ever! All you blue cheese haters will fall in love with this one, baby!
The candied walnuts just add a little surprise to this package. The vinaigrette dressing is light and lets the true taste of the salad come through.
- Mixing bowl
- Measuring cups and spoons Wire whisk
- Squeeze bottle with trimmed top (to store dressing)
- 1-quart sauce pan
- Latex gloves
- Chef knife
- Medium bowl
- Large bowl
[ingredients title=”Ingredients for Pickling Juice”]
- 1 C water
- 2 T kosher salt
- 1/2 C rice wine vinegar
- 1/3 C + 2 T sugar
- 1 whole clove
- 1 t mustard seeds
- 1 t black peppercorns
- 1 t peeled and chopped fresh ginger
- 1/2 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
[ingredients title=”Ingredients for Vinaigrette Dressing”]
- 1 shallot, minced
- 1/3 C sherry wine vinegar
- 1/2 C canola oil
- 1/2 C extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
[ingredients title=”Ingredients for Salad”]
- 2 beets
- 2 C pickling juice (see recipe below, or buy your beets already pickled) *
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 20 trimmed Belgian endive leaves *
- 1 pear, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
- 1 C blue cheese, crumbled
- 3/4 C candied walnuts, coarsely chopped (or candied pecans)
1 Prepare the endive leaves.Here’s a trick I learned years ago to take the bitterness out of the endive leaves…but just for reference, taste a leaf from the endive. Bitter, right?
Get a container large enough to hold the endive upright. With a paring knife, remove the core of each whole endive. Fill your container with 2 to 3 inches of kosher salt. Plant each whole endive into the layer of salt. Cover with a wrung-out, wet towel and refrigerate for several hours or overnight. Remove the outer leaves and trim base again.Now try another leaf…not bitter, right? All righty then!
Removing the bitterness from the endive leaves.
2 Start pickling beets by first cooking them in a small saucepan. Bring salted water to a boil and cook for 15 – 20 minutes, or until tender. Drain the beets, cool slightly, and peel while wearing latex gloves – otherwise you’ll stain your hands.
3 Make pickling juice by combining the ingredients listed above.
4 Julienne beets and place them in a medium bowl with the pickling juice for 2 hours.
5 Prepare vinaigrette dressing starting with the shallot and vinegar in a small bowl. Slowly whisk in canola and olive oils, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Fill squeeze bottle and trim top, or store in similar container.
6 Drain beets discarding the pickling juice and toss with 2 tablespoons of the vinaigrette dressing. Season with salt and pepper.
7 Mix your salad in a large bowl. Toss the endive, pear, blue cheese, and walnuts with vinaigrette dressing, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
8 Plate by arranging some of the salad in the center of the plate and top with beets. Then top with freshly ground black pepper.
If you want to construct a more elegant salad, plate the trimmed endive leaves in a star formation with the trimmed ends touching in the middle of plate. Top with mache greens in the center (to cover the ends of the endive leaves).
Take your pickled beets and arrange them inside the endive leaves and top with crumbled blue cheese. Place the pear slices in a fan shape atop of the macho greens. Drizzle with the vinaigrette.