Grilled Organic Endive Back to Basics utilizes the amazing flavor of beautifully grown endive adding a nice char from grilling and finishing with nice notes of extra virgin olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, lemon zested fleur de sel and Mizuna greens giving us a wonderful spring side dish that is simple and purely delicious!
Song of the day: "Family Affair" by Mary J. Blige.
Grilled organic Endive Back to basics takes us from the substantial comforts foods of winter and into the more brighter, lighter, easier to make dishes of Spring, thanks to amazing local organic growers that we have in our area.
Organic is such a heavily used word these days in the world of food. We trust that what says organic is really that, grown from the simplicity of earth's natural science and not modified by man's means other than the passion and care that is needed to produce these amazing vegetables. This brings me to getting to know your growers and really trusting that the products that they are offering are authentic, natural, and of course delicious and nutritious. I have found one such grower his name is Graham from Sparrow's Nest. Once you meet Graham you will automatically experience his passion for what he grows and how excited he is to share what he is growing in his gardens. You often see him munching on raw smidges of this and crispy smidges of that with a smile that goes from ear to ear. I love when I can experience these moments in time capturing something so real and beautiful, and the curiosity that breaks the uncomfortableness of meeting someone for the first time. I was really pleased when Nicoletta and I first met Graham, the sparkle in his eye when describing his vegetables and his excitement at what was coming, really had me intrigued. I am one who truly believes in energy and how it affects us, and truly believe that what Graham and Sparrow's Nest Organics had to offer was something spectacular and worth experiencing. It has been a few years now and I am sure you remember us mentioning his stand which is located at The Old Strathcona Farmers Market and you already know Nicoletta and I love farmers markets!
One of the things Graham likes to grow is endive and I have to tell you it is utterly amazing. Beautiful light pastel colors matched with incredible crispness and a sweet with a hint of bitter that is so wonderful. I too, eat it raw. It is great in salads but today we are grilling it and pairing it with another jewel we found in Salt Springs Island, a fleur de sel infused with lemon zest, this finishing salt is so delicious and just adds bursts of flavor to any ingredient it influences. If you want a great finishing salt, check out Salts Spring Sea Salt, they have a wonderful variety of sea salts that you can buy online (no sponsor).
We know where this beautiful vegetable came from, let's see where we can go with this Grilled Organic Endive Back to Basics!
I always think of grilling when I see this endive and up until now I have not grilled it but this time it will not escape my creative flow and a nice cast grilling pan all olive oiled up is getting hot on the stove. I love the grilling marks that happen and how that char brings such a nice subtle smokiness to the mix. This step demands your attention as you do not want to burn these delicate beauties; that would take the smokiness to an unbearable level and add such a bitterness that would not be pleasant.
Once the endive is grilled, the next steps are so easy. Into a platter they go, a splash of e.v.o. oil, a sprinkling of the fleur de sel, some nice lemon zest and juice and to finish a dash of Mizuna greens which I also picked up from Graham at Sparrow's Nest. Don't you just love the simple beauty of this dish? Very zen-like, and the aroma of that slight smoke, accompanied by the lemon zest and juice, is so refreshing it makes me feel healthy just looking at it. Don't forget a crackle of black pepper!
Enough looking, now it is time to really experience this Grilled Organic Endive Back to Basics. I love that the endive still has a crunch to it and as you break through this juiciness, it just floats into your mouth filling it with that sweet/bitter combination of the endive, and your taste buds come to life as zests and juice of the lemon play on your tongue with bright notes of the fleur de sel which tones the bitter component really well and those nice morsels of black pepper add a nice spice to the totality of this dish.
I have to tell you about this Mizuna, it is so wonderful as it marries well with the endive and everything else that is going on here but it has this wonderful finish of a subtle wasabi-mustardy flavor that finishes each bite beautifully. Winters is at its end and with it those long cooking stews and soups, all that cozy food. It is Spring and we are craving health and vitality and wonderful fresh foods to remind us how beautiful earth life can be. This may not be the "be all of end all" but it is a wonderful fresh start and one I know will play wonderfully with your palate, eyes, and nose. Give it a try and send us a note with your thoughts. We always love hearing from you and answering back!
Song of the day: "Family Affair" by Mary J. Blige.Print