Monday, November 13, 2006


Chestnut & Endive Salad with Goat Cheese

The super-fab Ms. Va-Voom stopped into town for about 48 hours and I was beyond giddy to see her. I do adore the girl. She has sass and glamour to spare. She is the female equivalent of Charlie, but without the habit of getting me in to all kinds of trouble. Oh wait...

Part of our plan was for her to pop in to ma maison and indulge in a bit of luncheon. I thought of a thousand things (as I am prone to do) she might be delighted by, but didn’t want to A. Get bogged down cooking, and B. Make so much that we wouldn't want to eat dinner. Plus, the weather had gone nutty. Global warming, Indian Summer, whatever you want to attribute it to, it was hot. As you can expect if you know me at all, I was as happy as a girl can be. Chill-Be-Gone I say! Bring on the heat!

Of course, the trouble with the weather being so out of wack at this time of year, is that it creates a certain amount of confusion at the market...there are autumn-oriented foods but the temperatures are in the high 80's. The only answer was to make a dish like this.

A salad of fall foods. Rich, creamy chestnuts; crisp, perfumed Asian pears; tangy goat cheese, and a vibrant apple cider vinegar. The endive is briefly cooked, to tame its bitterness and the sweet tender greens add just the right amount of softness to the whole dish.

You can see, I got a bit out-of-control with the plating, (or, more precisely, bowling) but it would taste just find tossed together. Either or, it is worth making for sure. We loved it. Try it, and enjoy.

2 heads of Belgian Endive. quartered, lengthwise
1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil
10 chestnuts, roasted*, peeled and halved
1/2 red onion, sliced thin
1 large Asian pear, quartered, cored and sliced
1/4 cup goat cheese, crumbled
Salad greens
1/4 cup olive oil
2 teaspoon honey-mustard
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 teaspoon honey
Salt and pepper to taste

In a small bowl, whisk together the mustard and oil. Add the cider and honey. Taste and adjust as needed. Season with salt and pepper. (Don't worry if it doesn't emulsify, it's okay)

In a large pan, sear the endive in hot oil. Remove when just browned.

Combine the rest of the salad ingredients and serve with dressing on the side.

Makes two large salads

To roast chestnuts: Carefully score each nut with a sharp knife. Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast at 350F for 20 minutes. Remove, let cool and peel.


Chestnuts contain twice as much starch as potatoes

Belgian Endive is a young broad-leaved endive plant deprived of light to form a narrow whitish head

Northen Praire Chevre is amazing, you should totally order some today

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