Gigi's BlogJanuary 26, 2012
Braised Endives in Olive Oil and lemonin Winter
As a little girl, I have the fondest memories of visiting the open air farmer's market in Lausaunne, Switzerland in mid-winter. The Swiss are a hearty stock. My two aunts, Suzette and Marie-Terese were no exception. They would wake me early in the morning and after a heartly breakfast of cafe ole, muesli, cheese and rye crackers, we headed off from Rue de Rumine towards Lausanne's town square, a 1/2 mile walk, with cloth bags in hand. Our early arrival paid huge dividends: Glistening, white leeks, lime green cabbages and gorgeous ruby beets. Amongst other wonderful produce was the vast array of chicories: Belgium and curly endives, escarole and radicchio. The Swiss, along with most of Europe, love these bitter little leaves and with good reason-they taste amazing, raw or cooked.
My Aunts often made this healthy, simple recipe, though they used butter instead of olive oil, with a variety of chicories. My favorite was made with Belgium endive. Braising endive conjures its sweetness and the browned edges add a savory, mellow flavor. This recipe's attributes are vast - few ingredients, a snap to make and it tastes delicious.
Substitute cabbage, leeks or radicchio if Belgium endive can't be found.
6-8 heads large Belgian endives
3 Tbsp Olive Oil
- 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp. sea salt
- 1/3 cup water
- sea salt and pepper to taste
Heat olive oil over medium-low heat in a large, heavy pan with a well fitting lid. While the oil heats up, trim the ends of the endive. Break the leaves up and lay them mostly intact. When you can no longer break the leaves apart, cut the rest of the head in half, vertically. Place the endives, in a single layer in the pan. Sprinkle with the lemon juice and sea salt. and then slowly pour the water down the side of the pan. Cover the pot and reduce the heat to low to braise, no peeking, until the endives are very tender, about 25 to 30 minutes. Once the endives are ready (very tender), partially remove the lid and continue to cook until the endives start to brown. Stay close during this process as the endives brown quickly. You can turn the endives over and cook until browned on both sides but it's not necessary. Sea salt and pepper to taste and serve.
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