I've never been a fan of the pretentious endive, with its bitter taste and difficult pronunciation. No matter how I try, I never seem to say the word correctly. Picking it out of fancy salads, no way would I ever prepare endive and serve it to my friends.
Until last week.
With the tart endive, tangy cheese and sweet caramelized pears, this salad is scrumptious and gorgeous (but must be plated prior to serving).
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons sugar
2 pears, peeled and diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup Stilton cheese, crumbled (or any other blue cheese)
25 endive spears, rinsed and dried
1/2 cup pecan halves (or 25 pieces), toasted
watercress sprigs, for garnish
1 cup cream cheese, for presentation
In large saute pan over medium heat, add butter and sugar. Add diced pears and cook until well caramelized, approximately 8 minutes.
In a small mixing bowl, whisk together garlic, red wine vinegar, salt, pepper and olive oil. Add the mixture to the cheese. Arrange the spears on a plate by first making a small mound of cream cheese in the center, then placing 3-4 endive spears on the cream cheese in a floral, three-dimensional pattern. Top the center of the endive spears with the cheese, then sauteed pears, and topping them with a few toasted pecans. Garnish with a sprig of watercress.