What's Tasty at Sigona's Farmers Market

February 22, 2012

In the Kitchen with Sigona’s Featuring Belgian Endive

In the Kitchen with Sigona’s Featuring Belgian Endive

Whether served raw, braised or sautéed, the slightly bitter Belgian endive adapts well in many dishes. Toss is in a leaf lettuce salad, use as scoops for veggie dip or simply stuff with a mix of ingredients and serve as a “boat.” The possibilities are endless!

Salad of Belgian Endive, Watercress & Strawberries

Strawberry season is just getting underway in Southern California, so now would be an excellent time to serve this salad at family dinner. This is a killer recipe! The complexity of flavors and nutrients here is tremendous. You get a peppery sensation from the watercress, a mellow crunch and pleasant, sight bitter taste from the endive…and here’s the kicker…fresh strawberries blended with a sweet/tart balsamic. Adapted from Vegetables from Amaranth to Zucchini by Elizabeth Schneider. Serves 4.

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch watercress
  • 5 Belgian endives
  • 1 pint strawberries
  • 1 TBL Sigona’s strawberry or raspberry balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/8 tsp white pepper
  • 2 1/2 TBL Sigona’s Fresh Press olive oil or grapeseed oil

Directions: Trim, rinse and spin-dry watercress; separate into tidy sprigs. Separate endive leaves and halve each diagonally. Rinse, hull and slice strawberries. Reserve scant 1/2 cup. Arrange with cress and endive on four salad plates.

Combine reserved strawberries with balsamic, salt and pepper in blender or food processor. Whiz into a smooth, light, fluffy puree. With machine running, gradually add oil. Taste and adjust seasoning. Whirl to blend.

Spoon dressing over salads and serve immediately.

Belgian Endive Boats with Herbed Cream Cheese and Smoked Salmon

Another raw bonanza here, full of color, nutrients, eye appeal and flavor, complete with a long, lingering smoky flavor that’s tempered by the smooth cream cheese…love it…I’ll take my omega 3s via smoked salmon any day! Raw Belgian endive spears make for great scoops or boats for impressive appetizers, so try this at your next brunch or baby shower. Recipe from Discover Endive, part of California Vegetable Specialties. Serves 6.

Ingredients:

  • 1 small red tomato, seeded and finely diced
  • 1 small yellow tomato, seeded and finely diced
  • 3 green onions, white and light green parts, finely chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature (such as Gina Marie)
  • 2 TBL finely chopped fresh dill weed
  • 2 large heads Belgian endive
  • 1 1/2 ounces smoked salmon, finely chopped
  • Parsley sprigs for garnish

Directions: Combine tomatoes, green onions, salt & pepper in a small bowl……and mix well. Taste for seasoning. Drain off excess liquid, cover and set aside.

2. In a food processor fitted with the metal blade, combine cream cheese and dill, and blend until cream cheese is whipped slightly and dill is evenly blended.

3. Separate the endive spears (as you get closer to the center, you may have to trim the bottom to free the spears).

4. Spoon the cream cheese mixture into a large plastic bag, pushing it down to one corner. Cut off about 1/4-inch from the bottom corner tip or just wide enough to push the cream cheese through. Pipe some herbed cream cheese onto the end of each Belgian endive spear. (Alternatively, you can use a teaspoon to spread the cream cheese onto the endive). Place some of the chopped salmon on top. Spoon about 1 teaspoon of salsa onto salmon.

5. To serve, arrange spears on a serving platter, garnish with sprigs of parsley.

Advance Preparation: Can be made up to 1 day ahead through step 2, covered and refrigerated. Bring to room temperature before proceeding.

Photos and recipe courtesy of Stephanie Nuccitelli of 52 Kitchen Adventures

Honey Roasted Belgian Endive

This would be lovely served as a side to baked pork chops. Recipe courtesy of Stephanie Nuccitelli of 52 Kitchen Adventures.

Ingredients:

  • 6 medium-size Belgian endives
  • 2 TBL Sigona’s Fresh Press extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 TBL unsalted butter
  • 1 TBL honey (such as Honey Hole Honey Co. Blackberry or Wild Mountain honey)
  • 2 tsp chopped thyme
  • Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. Slice endives in half lengthwise and remove just a bit of the bottom core, which is slightly bitter. Place endive halves into a baking dish.

3. Combine butter, olive oil, honey, thyme, salt and pepper in a small pan. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally. When mixture starts bubbling, remove from heat and pour evenly over endives in dish.

4. Roast for 20-30 minutes, until endives have softened and turned brown around the edges.

Baked White Fish with Belgian Endive, Leeks & Tarragon

This simple dish plays up on all the flavors of each ingredient. I just love white fish with greens, particularly one with a slight bite, like Belgian Endive. Recipe from Discover Endive, part of California Vegetable Specialties. Serves 6.

Ingredients:

  • 2 TBL unsalted butter
  • 2 TBL extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 6 cups thinly sliced leeks
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 Belgian endives, halved lengthwise and cored
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh tarragon
  • 6 white fish fillets, 5 to 6 ounces each (such as local Halibut)
  • 2 TBL chopped parsley

Directions: Preheat oven to 425 F. In ovenproof skillet or Dutch oven wide enough to hold the white fish in one layer, warm butter and olive oil over moderate heat.

Add leeks and season with salt and pepper. Stir well, then cover, reduce to moderately low and cook, stirring occasionally, until leeks have softened, 10 to 15 minutes. Do not let them brown.

Cut endive halves crosswise into 1/4-inch-wide pieces. Stir endive and tarragon into skillet, season with more salt and pepper, cover and continue cooking until endive has softened slightly, 3 to 4 minutes. Season halibut fillets on both sides with salt and pepper.

Arrange them on the bed of vegetables and transfer skillet to the oven, uncovered. Bake until fish just flakes, 10 to 12 minutes. Divide vegetables and fish among 6 dinner plates. Top fish with a generous drizzle of olive oil and garnish with parsley. Serve hot.

 

Photos and recipe courtesy of Sarah Searle of the blog The Yellow House

Belgian Endive & Gruyère Flatbread

A brief sauté in just a smidge of butter takes the characteristic, chicory-bitter edge off of the endive, and pairing it with nutty, funky Gruyere brings out similar earthiness in the endive. With some peppery greens for contrast, you have an amazing—and unusual—appetizer for a few or dinner for two. Recipe courtesy of Sarah Searle of the blog The Yellow House.

Ingredients:

  • Your favorite pizza dough, enough for one crust
  • 1-2 TBL butter
  • 2-3 plump Belgian endives
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 wedge of lemon (optional)
  • 1 cup grated Gruyere cheese (this would also work with a similarly textured cheese, like fontina)
  • 3/4 cup arugula (or other greens, like spinach)
  • Sigona’s Fresh Press extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling

Directions:  Roll out pizza dough onto parchment paper or a well-floured pizza peel. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 400F.

Thoroughly wash the endives in cool water. slice off the stem stump, and then quarter them lengthwise. Slice each quarter into thinner ribbons, 1/2-inch to 1/4-inch wide.

Heat the butter in a skillet on medium heat. When the butter is foamy, add the endives, stirring to coat. Add the salt. Sauté, 5-7 minutes, until the endives begin to soften but not brown. When cooked, endives can discolor a bit, so if you want, sprinkle a bit of lemon juice over the endives at this point to prevent discoloration.

Once the oven is preheated, transfer your pizza crust to a baking sheet, pizza pan, or baking stone, and pre-bake for 5 minutes, just enough for the dough to begin to set. Remove from the oven, and spread the sautéed endives on the crust. Sprinkle the gruyere cheese over the endives. Bake another 10-15 minutes, until cheese is bubbling, the pizza crust is golden, and the endives are a bit browned on the edges.

Scatter the arugula over the hot flatbread. Drizzle with a little good olive oil, and serve.

8 Ways to Enjoy Belgian Endive

Don’t these all sound simple, healthy and delicious? List sourced from Fruits & Veggies More Matters.

  1. The Endive Dipper! Replace crackers with endive leaves and enjoy with tuna salad, chicken salad, or any of your favorite vegetable dips.
  1. An Appealing Appetizer. Place endive leaves in a circular shape (make 2 layers) and top with grapes and walnuts. Drizzle light vinaigrette on top and you’re done! Your guests will thoroughly enjoy.
  1. Endives Instead of Lettuce. Anywhere you would put lettuce you can put endive leaves! They’re great on top of deli sandwiches or Panini.
  1. Julienne Them. Slice the endive in thin strips and add to any of your favorite salads.
  1. Great on the Grill. Brush each endive with olive oil then grill until browned and slightly wilted on grilled side. Top with balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper and toasted walnuts. This is a great healthy side dish to add to any meal.
  1. Sautéed. Sauté endives in olive oil. Add a squeeze of fresh lemon and salt and pepper to flavor. This is a perfect bed for salmon or another grilled fish.
  1. Soup du Jour. Try adding Belgian endives in place of cabbage and other chicory vegetables to any of your favorite soup recipes!
  1. The Endive Bake. Place halved endives on a baking sheet, brush with a small amount of butter and top with a low-fat cheese and nutmeg. Bake at 400° F until lightly browned (about 10 minutes).
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