by Cat, Dec 2011 (Photo, right, from Wikimedia Commons)
These days, lettuce and other simple greens are available year-round, so we don’t think much about the importance of winter greens. But in times of want, they are indispensable during the cold months of winter, to boost spirits and provide raw nutrients, because they will grow in the cold weather (with protection such as a cold frame).
Which are winter greens? Frisee, Belgian endive, escarole, radicchio (red chicory), beet greens, chard, rapini, kale, cabbage, brussels sprouts…. And then there are the late-fall greens like lettuce and spinach (you sow the seeds in late July or early August and harvest in September-October where I live; or your can leave them in the ground but cover with mulch to overwinter and provide early spring greens.
Endive and Apple Salad with Warm Goat Cheese
This recipe is adapted from Fine Cooking.com (1); while the original serves 4, I’ve modified to serve 2. (Photo, below, from Wikimedia Commons)
Notes on ingredients:
Belgian endive (left) is a member of the chicory family, along with frisee (curly endive, above), escarole, radicchio and chicory. Belgian endive typically has white leaves, because it is grown below ground or indoors in the absence of sunlight. A friend of mine keeps it in sand in his root cellar through the winter. While both the leafy part and the root are edible, this recipe uses only the leaves. See Kitchen Garden International (2) for an article on growing this interesting veggie.
Goat cheese: There isn’t just one type of goat cheese, but when not specified, usually Montrachet, chevre, or similar soft, creamy goat cheese that comes in a log shape is meant. I use a Montana brand of Organic plain chevre from Amaltheia Dairy (3).
Pomegranate juice is available in most grocery stores; Pom Wonderful is a common brand. Fresh pomegranates (for the seeds) are harder to come by; hence the seeds are an optional ingredient. (Photo, right, from Wikimedia commons).
Ingredients & Equipment:
Salad and Nutty Cheese Rounds:
- ¼ cup finely chopped soaked & dried hazelnuts
- 2 firm, medium-sweet apples (I like honeycrisp)
- 1 large Belgian endive
- 1 small shallot (about 4 tsp, finely diced)
- 2 oz (2 cups lightly packed) baby spinach
- 3 oz chevre (goat cheese)
- 1 ½ Tbsp unsalted butter, divided
- unrefined sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- ½ cup pomegranate juice
- ½ Tbsp raw cider vinegar
- ½ tsp Dijon mustard
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 Tbsp fresh pomegranate seeds (optional)
- fresh chive (enough to make 1 Tbsp, sliced thin)
- cast iron skillet
- small jar
- large bowl
- Prepare hazelnuts: start soaking at least 2 days before, and I usually prepare a larger batch. Chop them coarsely or leave them whole before soaking.
- Reduce pomegranate juice to about 1/4 cup in a small saucepan over medium heat (about 15 minutes). It should be syrupy. Set aside for the dressing
- Peel and core the apples, then cut into 1/2-inch dice (about 1 1/2 cups)
- Halve the endive lengthwise, leaving the core intact. Then cut each half lengthwise into 4 pieces.
- Dice the shallot finely.
- Wash and dry the spinach.
Nutty Cheese rounds:
- Preheat oven to 425 F, with rack in center position.
- Chop the nuts finely and spread on a small plate or small shallow bowl.
- Mash cheese in a small bowl with fork until smooth. Form and press cheese into two 2” diameter rounds, then press the rounds into the nuts on all sides to coat. Place on a small baking sheet and bake until nuts brown and cheese softens, 8 – 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, melt 1 Tbsp butter in skillet over medium heat. Arrange endives flat in the pan, sprinkle with 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper. Cook, undisturbed until browned, 2-3 minutes. Flip and cook until the other side starts to soften, 1-2 minutes. Transfer to large plate.
- Add remaining 1/2 Tbsp butter to skillet, add apples and shallot, sprinkle with salt and cook, shaking the pan often, until apples start to soften, 2-3 minutes.
- Transfer thickened pomegranate juice to small jar. Add vinegar, mustard and 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper. Whisk until combined. Then whisk in the olive oil. Adjust seasoning.
Assemble and Serve:
- Toss spinach and apples with half the vinaigrette in a large bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Arrange endives on 2 serving plates. Top with a mound of spinach mixture, then the nutty goat cheese rounds. Sprinkle with chives and pomegranate seeds (if using). Drizzle with remaining vinaigrette.
- Fine Cooking.com recipe: finecooking.com/recipes/endive-apple-warm-goat-cheese.aspx
- Kitchen Garden International: kgi.org/growing-belgian-endive
- Amaltheia Dairy: amaltheiadairy.com