Seared Endive Salad

Spring has been quite tardy up in Northern Quebec.  The past couple of weeks mark the melting of (most) of the snow and a returning desire for juicy, crunchy salads on the plate.  This one is a showy and tasty starter for lunch or supper where seared endive acts as the showcase for a medley of lightly dressed fresh vegetables.  A tasty way to say hello to spring, with a blend of salty, sweet, bitter and refreshing!

Yield: 2 servings

What you need:

  • 2 Belgian endives, halved
  • 6 grape tomatoes, finely diced
  • 2 small (Lebanese) cucumbers, finely diced
  • 1/2 a small carrot, finely grated
  • 2 sprigs basil, leaves only, leaves coarsely torn
  • 2 sprigs fresh methi (fenugreek greens), leaves only, leaves coarsely torn (or more basil if fresh methi is unavailable)
  • 1 tablespoon raw hemp seed oil
  • 1 teaspoon ume plum vinegar
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste

What you do:

  1. Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat until very hot.  When hot, add the endive halves in a single layer, cut side down.  Place a heavy pan on top (like a cast iron fry-pan) and let sear for 3-4 minutes.
  2. In a bowl, whisk together the hemp seed oil, ume plum vinegar and ground pepper.  Add the diced tomatoes and cucumber, grated carrot and torn basil and methi leaves.  Mix well.
  3. Go back to the grill pan, remove the weighting pan and flip the endive halves over using tongs.  Put the pan/press back on top of the endive and sear another 2-3 minutes.
  4. To serve, place a couple of endive halves on each plate and spoon the salad (confetti!) over the seared wedges.

Note:  You could also cook the endive halves in a panini press rather than going the grill-pan and weight method.

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