Monday, February 3, 2014

Belgian Favorites {Endive Salad}

Belgium has introduced me to many new foods, one of them being endives.

While these are sold in America, I had never personally eaten them. Here in Belgium though, they're a solid staple! They were even "invented" in Brussels, Belgium, when a man forgot a chicory plant in his dark cave, only to find it weeks later, sprouting into a new vegetable! Actually, we often call this veggie the Belgian Endive!

There really is no way around them, so I had to learn to like them. But they were just so bitter, no amount of mayo that I piled on top could convince me to eat a salad of this stuff willingly.

Then I happened across a handy tip - cut out the bitter centers, only eating the far less bitter leaves.

You know what? It worked. Raw endive leaves are delicious (try using them as "boats" to serve Tuna & Peach Salad for a true Belgian experience!) and the resulting salads are very refreshing.

I have a special technique for removing the centers with minimal waste. First, wash the veggie, removing any damaged outer leaves. Then cut a slice off the bottom of the plant, about as thick as your finger. The outer leaves should no longer be attached to the plant; set them to the side. 

Repeat these steps (cut a finger-thick slice off the bottom, remove the leaves...) until you have finished with the veggie. You can now stack the leaves up and easily slice them into thin ribbons. 

Easy peasy!

This salad is very easy to double or even triple when cooking for a crowd or prepping sides for a week of lunches. Yes, it keeps well in the fridge for a day or two.

Endive Salad serves 2

  • 2-3 Belgian Endives
  • 1 hard boiled egg
  • 1 1/2 tbsp homemade mayo
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • Sea salt and back pepper, to taste
  1. Remove the centers of the endives, then slice into thin ribbons. Place in a medium bowl.
  2. Cut the egg in half, setting the yolk aside. Roughly chop the white and add to the endives.
  3. In a small bowl, mash the yolk with 1/2 tbsp of mayo until smooth. Add the rest of the mayo, then the vinegar, mixing until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. Pour the sauce over the endives and toss to combine.

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