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  • Mary

Endive, Orange & Roquefort Salad

The Challenge

This week's recipes included the Seared Sea Scallops with Potato Celery Root Purée and this Endive, Orange & Roquefort Salad, which you can find here or on page 69 of Foolproof.

Mary's Take:

Salad. Salad seems like a good idea in January, don't you think? A time when we're (supposed to be) resolving to eat better, get healthier, make changes. This kind of salad, with its fancy lettuces, orange, apple, and toasted walnuts is a big change for me. At home, I prefer my salad to be dressed with a red wine vinaigrette: just a generous sprinkle of Cavender's seasoning, red wine vinegar, and olive oil. Always with romaine hearts. Almost always exactly the same.

One of the traits I've inherited from my dad is a dislike of fruit or nuts in my food (and

food ≠ dessert, btw). By themselves, I love both of those things. But neither my dad nor I like sweet in our savory dishes [Lea: And, strangely enough, I like it.]. This salad has all of the above, and I loved it. I even made it a second time last week!

Belgian endive isn't a vegetable I have a lot of experience using. Once, when we were staying at a timeshare in France, we picked up ingredients for a dinner in the apartment. We thought it would be particularly clever of us to make a salad of Belgian endive, as we had just taken a day trip to Brussels. It was awful...really bitter. I don't think I've tried using it since.

The title of this recipe probably shouldn't even headline the endive since it contains just one little head and much more arugula. Don't let it deter you if you're not a fan of all things bitter.

The recipe starts with making the vinaigrette: whisk together the orange zest, the orange juice, white wine vinegar, olive oil, salt & pepper. Small tip: you can get by with one orange if you first zest it (both on a rasp for the dressing and with a strip zester that makes the long, skinny squiggles for the salad), then cut it in half, juice the one half and section the other. If you prepare and use the items in order of the recipe, you'll juice it before you zest it the second time, making it nearly impossible to get the squiggles.

For the salad, drizzle a bit of vinaigrette on the cut endive, then add the toasted nuts, apple, Roquefort, and arugula. Drop in your zest squiggles and add the orange sections. The hardest part of this recipe is sectioning the orange. At first, I struggled with separating the orange from the membrane, eventually giving up and tossing in the sectioned orange pieces. The second time I made it, I googled how and figured out how to get it right.

Lea's Take:

Yes, well, I had planned to make this salad. I had bought what I could at our vanilla grocery store and figured I'd get the rest when I went to the fancy grocery store for the scallops I didn't make. Then Mary told me not to make the scallops, so I didn't make the trip out to the fancy store. Aaaaaand didn't make the salad. Besides, from Mary's description above, sounds like the squiggles would've made me mad.

And there you go.

The Verdict

John and I both think this salad is delicious. The bright citrus-y vinaigrette takes away the bitterness of the endive, the fruits aren't too sweet, and the arugula and Roquefort give it enough salty flavor that it rounds out beautifully.

I was talking with a girlfriend yesterday and she remarked that she'd love this salad with a piece of chicken alongside it. I would go great with a simple meat that doesn't compete with the different flavors in the salad. (I'd say it was complex, but I fear Lea will roll her eyes at me.) [Lea: Too late.]

Now we'll just have to get our dad to try it...maybe he's up for a change this year, too!

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