This post is part 3 of a three-part series for the International Food Blogger Conference (IFBC) I attended in Sacramento, CA. In exchange for a discounted ticket, I agreed to share my own personal experience about my time spent at IFBC on Spanglish Spoon. A huge Thank You goes to California Endive Farms for inviting us to their farm.
Last month was the first time I tasted the Belgian endive. It was at the International Food Bloggers Conference that I learned all about how the Belgian endive is grown as well as how to pronounce endive. I had no idea how long the growing process was, nor did I have the slightest idea as to how I would prepare them at home. If it wasn’t for that day under the hundred-year-old tree in Sacramento where a group of us sampled two different salads, I would not have known how versatile the Belgian endive is. They can be grilled, sautéed, braised, or simply used in a fresh salad.
Throughout the tour I became more and more eager to taste them, and when I finally got the chance, my palate immediately was drawn to the cooked endive. The raw salad was a little too bitter for my taste, but the cooked version took away some of the bitterness and brought out more of its sweet and nutty flavors. That was my favorite.
During the culinary fair at the International Food Bloggers Conference, Rich Collins brought boxes of prepackaged endives and gave everyone free samples to take home. Thank you Mr. Collins!
Once I was ready to experiment with them, I wanted to give the raw fresh salad method one more try. That ended up being a total strike-out again though.
The second time around however was much better. I was lucky to find some goat cheese on sale at Raley’s, so I picked some up and headed to the produce department to pick an herb so that I can also use my “something extra” coupon for a free pack of fresh herbs. I picked thyme because it’s one of my favorite herbs.
As soon as I put away the groceries I got started on cooking my sautéed Belgian endive halves.
For this sautéed Belgian endive recipe, you will need:
- balsamic reduction sauce.
- 2 Belgian endives
- goat cheese
- fresh thyme
- chopped walnuts
- kosher salt to taste
To start, cut a little bit of the bottom stem off from each endive, then slice them in half lengthwise. Sauté the halves in a skillet, on medium heat, in about a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil until they become soft and browned on the edges. This shouldn’t take more than 5-7 minutes.
Add small chunks of the goat cheese, a sprinkle of chopped walnuts, a couple sprigs of thyme, and top it all off with a little bit of balsamic reduction sauce and kosher salt to taste.
It’s best to use a sharp dinner knife to help you cut the endives as you eat them. You can also just remove the thyme leaves off the stems instead of using whole sprigs if you prefer. Personally I enjoy having one or two sprigs on the plate and cutting off a few leaves as needed for each bite.