Valentine’s Day….a day of hearts, chocolate and flowers. After having been to LA’s flower mart (several years ago) on a Valentine’s Day that fell on a Saturday, Craig was told NEVER to buy me flowers on that day. Since a dozen roses, at the florist, cost nearly $100 on that day…finding them at the market that is the source for florists, at $10 a dozen was enough to send my head spinning.
So imagine my surprise when I received a box marked “perishable” just a couple of days before the 14th. Since Craig wasn’t even in the country, I couldn’t fathom what he could have sent. I opened the box to find it full of California endive (pronounced on-deev). There were a couple of trays of red and white endive and a large bouquet of endive tied with a red ribbon. The note accompanying the sweet treat was a Valentine from California Vegetable Specialties.
Most endive recipes that you’re probably familiar with have the leaves served whole and either filled with something or are used in place of crackers with a dip. In this variation on your typical lettuce salad recipe, greens such as butter lettuce or played out romaine, are replaced with strips of white and red Belgian style endive and tossed with shreds of carrot and apple, and sweet pieces of white grapes further offsetting the slightly bitter endive. Toasted walnuts are sprinkled on top and it’s dressed with sweet and tangy orange vinaigrette.
This endive salad is a visual treat with its bright colors and an exciting blend of contrasting flavors and crunchy texture. The sweetness of the carrots, tangy apples and juicy white grapes offset the subtle bitterness of the endive. The toasted walnuts give this endive salad even more crunch, just in case were concerned that there wasn’t enough.
Like many raw endive recipes, this salad takes less than 15 minutes to come together, and makes a beautiful first course salad for a lovely dinner party. If you add some crumbled goat cheese, it could easily make a light and flavorful dinner. Because all of the ingredients in this endive salad hold up well, you could pile this up on a platter, dressing and all, as part of a buffet. And you’ll never go back to that boring ol’ lettuce salad recipe you used to depend on.
15 Poppy House Road
Rio Vista, California 94571