I love trying new things, don’t you? Now I have a new favorite salad…and it’s an endive salad! I was asked to use some special products to create a side dish for a holiday menu, so I came up with this salad. We actually enjoyed it on Thanksgiving weekend, and I’m definitely planning to make it again for Christmas or New Year’s!
First, California Endive Farms sent me a big box of fresh endive in two colors. I will be perfectly honest and admit that I have never served endive before, so I went directly to the California Endive website to learn about it. I learned that endive is a member of the chicory family, along with radicchio, escarole, frisee, and curly endive. I had enjoyed eating these in restaurants, but never purchased endive to serve at home. I surely didn’t realize that endive is one of the most difficult vegetables to grow! It is actually grown from the root of the chicory plant, after the leafy part has been harvested. The roots are placed in cold storage for a dormancy period, then removed and placed into a dark, cool room similar to the rooms where mushrooms are grown. It takes 28 days to grow the leafy shoots, which are crisp with a sweet nutty flavor and a mild but pleasant bitterness. They come in both red and white colors!
Here’s a video that helped me learn how to use the endive:
Nudo Italia Olive Oil sent me some of their special extra virgin olive oil, stone ground with basil. This olive oil is produced in the Marche region of Italy, and is perfect for dipping, drizzling, or holiday cooking. I used some in the vinaigrette dressing for the salad, adding that extra special freshness and flavor of 100% Italian olives. I learned that Nudo allows people from all over the world to adopt an Italian olive tree and receive it’s olive oil. Their program is a collaboration between olive farmers in Le Marche, Liguria, and Sicily who farm their land using traditional farming methods. This program allows the farmers to have some financial security as their entire crop will be included in the adoption program. What a great gift for the person who has everything…adopt an olive tree for them!
Rios de Chile Wines also sent a bottle of their Merlot, from the Cachapoal Valley of Chile. Such a gorgeous deep red color! I’m a red-wine lover, and this one is definitely on my favorite list now! Want to know more? Click here.
I’ll be pairing the wine with my Avocado and Crabmeat Endive Appetizer for the holidays….stay tuned, it’ll be my next post! For today, let’s do the scrumptious salad that we enjoyed for Thanksgiving last week! It was so good that I’ll be making it again for a Christmas potluck. The ingredients are so easy to prepare, that I’ll just pack up everything I need and put the salad together at the party!
Endive, Pear, and Gorgonzola Salad
6 heads of California (or Belgian) Endive, red and white
4 pieces of bacon, cooked and crisp
2 ripe Bosc pears, halved, cored and sliced
1/4 cup crumbled good creamy Gorgonzola cheese
1/2 cup pecan pieces
For the dressing:
1 1/2 tablespoons Champagne vinegar
3/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
6 tablespoons Nudo Olio D’Oliva Extra Virgine Al Basilico (olive oil with basil)
Trim off the core of each head of endive, and slice into thin slices from one end to the other. Place the sliced endive into a salad bowl. Crumble the gorgonzola cheese on top of the endive. Chop the bacon into bits and place it on top of the cheese. Place the chopped pecans on top of the bacon.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the vinegar and mustard, salt and pepper. Slowly drizzle in the oil oil, and whisk it to make an emulsion. In a separate bowl, toss the pear slices with 2-3 teaspoons of the dressing. Drizzle the remaining dressing over the salad and toss to coat all the ingredients with the dressing. Place the pears on top of the salad and serve immediately. Serves 6.
Now that I’m acquainted with California endive, I’ll be buying it regularly for salads. It’s crunchy, with a fresh flavor that is different than lettuce. Endive is so easy to use because it isn’t grown in dirt, and doesn’t need to be washed. Fresh endive will keep for 10-14 days in the fridge too. The red endive is so pretty, especially for the holidays! Mix it with the white endive to create a beautiful salad that looks really nice on holiday china.
Disclaimer: I was provided with a big box of California endive from Calilfornia Endive Farms (@CaliforniaEndive), olive oil from Nudo (@Nudoadopt) and a bottle of Merlot from Rios de Chile Wines (@Rios_de_Chile) and a gift card from Whole Foods to purchase the indedients for my recipe. I appreciate the opportunity to work with these brands and hope you’ll try their products. All opinions and experiences are my own.
Stay tuned for my Avocado and Crabmeat Endive Appetizer, paired with the Rios de Chile Merlot!