Contributed by Mario Batali
Add a pinch of sugar and stick to the stovetop for tender braised endive with multidimensional flavor.
Raw Belgian endive has a distinctive bitter flavor that needs to be tamed.
The right cooking method transforms sharp, bitter endive into a vegetable side dish of uncommonly complex flavor-at once mellow, sweet, and rich, yet still faintly bitter. The challenge is to develop the deep flavor, richness, and gentle sweetness necessary to balance the endive’s natural bite.
Brown the endive in butter and sugar for maximum richness and sweetness, then braise quickly in white wine and chicken broth for a deep yet brightly flavored vegetable side dish.
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
Salt and freshly ground pepper
6 Belgian endives, halved lengthwise
2 tablespoons finely chopped marjoram
One 4-ounce piece of young provolone, shaved
Light a grill or preheat a grill pan. In a small bowl, whisk the olive oil with the lemon zest and lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. In a large bowl, toss the endive halves with all but 2 tablespoons of the dressing.
Grill the endive halves over moderate heat, turning once, until lightly charred and just cooked through, about 5 minutes. Transfer the endives to a platter, cut side up. Drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons of dressing and sprinkle with the marjoram. Scatter the provolone shavings on top of the endives and serve.
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