Endive, Apple, Mâche

Then there’s the warm weather.

It’s been beautiful for three days. There’s a part of me that thinks, something’s gotta give, right? But people on the street are smiling at nothing in particular. Grinning at dogs, beaming at, like, infants and bare branches and unbloomed tulips. I even saw the pan-handler in front of Potbelly’s get some love.

And walking to the bookstore today I got whistled at for the first time in… for the first time in a long time. I’m telling you. Weather.

Weather that brings about a change in my taste, my desires. This is right about when I start waxing poetic about crispy, fresh, vegetable-y things. Not that I couldn’t totally kill a juicy undercooked burger right now, but in general I’ve been thinking about something else.

I love–love–endive. Why? Well, for one thing, it’s just a tasty lettuce. Sweet, bitter, crisp. For another, it’s got this lovely peach fuzz that’s seductive in a way I have no words for.

But there are other seductions at work here. The creamy perfection of a towering chunk of blue cheese, the intense sour-sweetness of a ripe Fuji apple, the velvety mildness of mâche, the herbal twang of fresh parsley.

This is an easy salad to put together, but because it’s so simple, also desperately easy to screw up. Armed with near-perfect ingredients, the cook’s challenge is to mix a dressing that just won’t get in the way. A little acid, a little oil, a little salt. That’s it. Overdress this salad, or get too fancy with the vinaigrette, and you risk killing the first really good salad of spring. And no one wants that on their conscience.

Apparently it’s Easter this Sunday. I’ll probably be munching on something a lot like this, forgoing ham and chocolate eggs and hot buns for something a little more respectful of the weather. Siding, for the moment, and quite happily, with the rabbits… Which is what Easter’s really about, right? Right?

– Angela M.

Endive, Mâche, and Fuji Apple Salad

– 2 heads belgian endive, separated
– 2 loose handfulls mâche
– 1 small or 1/2 large Fuji apple, thinly (but not too thinly) sliced, and sprinkled with fresh lemon juice to prevent oxidation
– 2-3 tablespoons crumbled blue cheese… Roquefort if you’re hardcore (read: awesome)
– A sprig or two of fresh Italian parsley, stems removed

– 2 tablespoons white wine or white Balsamic vinegar
– 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
– 1 tablespoon distilled water
– Dash of granulated sugar
– Kosher salt, black pepper

In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, oil, water, sugar, salt and pepper. Taste, correct, taste. Set aside. In one bowl, place endive leaves. In another, the mâche and parsley. Toss leaves with dressing separately. Do this because the greens are not the same shape or size, and this will allow all of them to be dressed evenly, and not too huskily. Assemble salad greens on the plate. Scatter with slices of Fuji apple and crumbles of blue cheese. Enjoy immediately.

9 thoughts on “Endive, Apple, Mâche

  1. Angela Mears says:

    It’s a mild green, also known as lamb’s lettuce. Grows wild in some places… but it’s beginning to be cultivated in the US!

  2. John Mears says:

    Hmmm, could it be anything like lamb’s quarters? It grew wild on the farm in Pennsylvania and sometimes we ate it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s