The holidays are over, I haven’t started undecorating yet. Ouch. That will be my project for the weekend, I love having all the Christmas decorations but I’m never crazy about the putting up or taking down of all those Christmas trees. I didn’t buy any decorations at the after Christmas sales except for identical ornaments, one for me and one for Katie, I couldn’t resist.
I had a salad similar to this pear salad when we were in Harbor Springs last week. The one I had was a bit disappointing because the pears were canned; fresh pears really add a nice crunch to the salad. I love Belgian endive; there is just something about the flavor of endive that I really enjoy. Whenever I put endive in a salad I always buy a little extra to snack on otherwise the salads come up short because I can’t assemble a salad with endive without eating some in the process.
Belgian endive is from the chicory family and is actually shoots of the chicory plant. Belgian endive can be a little expensive compared to other greens but the process of growing endive is a bit involved and justifies the cost. Seeds are initially planted in the field and the plants root and actually grow a chicory plant. The tops of the plant are partially chopped off at a level that allows to roots to live and continue growing. The plants are then dug up, moved to cold frames are the plants are forced to grow into compact heads. When they are ready to be harvested, they are cut by hand and the shape of the endive resembles a bullet. Unlike a traditional chicory plant which is curly edged and bitter tasting, the endive has smooth leaves and is bittersweet is flavor but definitely not bitter. It has a really lovely crunch. It is available white and red and both taste quite similar.
This salad is even more enjoyable if you use a really nice olive oil and nicely aged balsamic vinegar. You can throw this together in minutes and it has a very gourmet taste without any fuss at all.
1 of bag baby greens (5-6 ounces)
2 small heads of Belgian endive
1 pear, cored and cut into wedges
¼ cup crumbled feta cheese
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Salt and Pepper to Taste
Divide baby greens evenly between 4 plates. Divide pear slices and leaves of Belgian endive evenly onto salad plates. Equally divide the ¼ cup feta cheese between the 4 plates. Combine the olive oil and the vinegar in small bowl. Drizzle in equal amounts over the salad plates.