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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