Weekend cooking – 3 ways to prepare endive

While I grew up noticing endive at the grocery store, I never ate one until I moved to France. Over here they’re pretty typical and people eat them very often. What I’ve come to love about them is that besides being tasty, they’re very flexible.

I’m listing three options here but because the endive is so flexible, there are many more recipes that you can prepare with them. The first is as an aperitif food. There’s nothing easier than an endive leaf stuffed with something. You could put whatever you like on them but personally I like a spoon of very young, fresh goat cheese on the endive topped with either a small olive or perhaps tapenade or olive paste or pureed red pepper. If I’m topping it with olives, I like the Italian olives from Liguria or the southern coast of France because they’re small and fit nicely. Drizzle some olive oil on top and you’re ready.

Envide with goat cheese and tapenade

Envide with goat cheese and tapenade for apero

Another option is braised endive. This is served often enough in France though I admit it’s my least favorite way to eat endive. It can be as simple as cooking with butter and lemon or it can be a bit more complex, with a béchamel sauce, cheese and ham. Here’s a classic version that is served as a side dish. (And yes, cream and cheese can generally make anything better.)

Finally, though there are a countless number of easy endive salads, this is the most typical. It’s also delicious and incredibly easy to prepare. Personally I find it easier and preferable to simply slice the endive (circles of around 1/2 inch, plus or minus) rather than break it out leaf by leaf but it’s really down to whatever you like. I also cut up the Roquefort and toss it in with the chopped endive rather than into the dressing but again, do whatever you like.

The walnut oil really makes a nice difference so if you can, add it. The idea of using sunflower or whatever oil is pretty crazy to me and I would only use olive oil, though sunflower will work. The egg yolk is a tasty option though I’ve never used it. For the dressing I use my basic vinaigrette plus a bit of walnut oil.


An American in Paris, France. BA in History & Political Science from Ohio State. Provided consulting services to US software startups, launching new business overseas that have both IPO’d and sold to well-known global software companies. Currently launching a new cloud-based startup. Full bio here.

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  • slideguy

    Can I just say that I’m loving the cooking stuff. Life affirming and useful. Thanks, much.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    I want to move to your neighborhood!

  • http://thebrainpolice.blogspot.com microdot

    one more thing…commercially grown endives are usually bitter. That’s not a bad thing, but the o;der varieties are actually quite sweet…Endive is a variety of chicory. I/ve grown it for the last 5 years and I had some pretty good results with a few harvests from the same root. You just keep mounding the dirt up over the new growth…you can do the same thing by covering them with a flower pot. The important thing is to keep the new shoots from becoming green. That’s when they become bitter. The Dutch and Northern European name for endive is witloof…which means white leaf.

  • jdhill

    I’m fond of Maroilles and Endive as a tart. Unfortunately the US ban on raw milk cheese has turned me into a frequent smuggler of illicit cheeses. So far, I’ve found e reward worh the risk.

  • http://thebrainpolice.blogspot.com microdot

    I live on le route de noix…Walnuts are the biggest cash crop here on the hills…and there are many mills where one can buy freshly pressed walnut oil. Walnut oil is wonderful if you can use if fresh, it’s very strong and you can cut it with another oil and still have plenty of flavor, but it, as all nut oils, gets rancid pretty quickly. The flavor deteriorates and that is one thing I noticed when buying walnut oil in America…it was invariably too old for my taste. A product which I make myself and is very popular here is walnut infused vinegar. I make it using either green walnuts pricked with a pin, or better yet, the first oily sprouts on the Walnut trees in the spring…I also collect the leaf shoots in the spring and put them in Eau de Vie…the alcohol turns inky black in a few months and is infused with essence of walnuts…that becomes Vin de noix, using dry red wine, sugar and the walnut infused eau de vie…here we get it directly from the alembic distillers that set up operations down by the spring fed lavoir here in Badefols…the alcohol is made from plums. My recipe is 3 bottles of red wine, I use table wine type Corbieres, a kilo of sugar and a liter of alcohol. put it into bottles and don’t drink it for at least 3 months! You can also make the Eau de vie walnut infusion using the immature nuts usually collect around June 20 pricked with a pin. I tried both methods and found that the early spring crushed walnut leafs have much more oil and flavor! bon apetite!

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