Julia Child was a fan of endive. She called it Belgian endive and she included recipes for it in several of her cookbooks.
When I was asked by the folks at Kitchen-Play to do a video featuring California endive my mind immediately turned to Julia Child. Well actually, my mind immediately turned to my mother who was quite a Julia Child fan. So this is the sort of French classic I was raised on.
When my mother was experimenting with endive in the 1970s and early 80s, they were rather exotic and expensive. They came from the store preciously packed between blue sheets of paper– creamy white, pointy-looking things! What were they we thought, some sort of flower bud?? They were certainly the odd man out in a veg drawer filled with familiar carrots and celery. Let me tell you, to this grade school geek they seemed as if they were from another planet.
But I have long since seen the light. Endive has a natural bitterness that is quite complex. It is a terrific compliment to so many bold or creamy flavors, and it is assertive enough to be served simply. I like chopped endive served as a salad with a simple mustard vinaigrette. You can see my version here.
But today I want you to consider cooked endive. Because that very same bitter edge mellows somewhat when braised. The complex flavor, combined with the very best butter, makes endive a great accompaniment to roast meat. And that’s just how Julia (and my mother) served them all throughout my youth. Please watch the following video. I’ll make Butter Braised Endive the Julia Child way!
I adapted this recipe from Julia’s The Way To Cook
- 12 small, or 8 large Belgian endives
- 1⁄4 t kosher salt, or more to taste
- 1⁄2 c water, plus more as needed
- 1⁄2 lemon, juiced
- 4 T butter, sliced into 1/2 tablespoon pieces
- 2 T flat leaf parsley, minced as garnish, optional
Prepare the endive for cooking: Trim the root ends of the endive, being careful to ensure that the leaves remain attached. Remove any wilted leaves and cut out the brown portions. Wash under cool running water.
Braising the endive: Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Arrange the endives in a single layer in a stove top and oven proof casserole or baking dish just large enough to accommodate them. Add the salt, water, lemon juice, and butter. Cover the dish with a lid or foil and simmer on top of the stove, until just tender, about 20 minutes.
Remove the cover and lay a piece of parchment cut to size onto the surface of the vegetables. Place into the preheated oven and bake about 2 hours. Baste the endive several times during cooking with the liquid in the dish. You may need to add more water to assure that the liquid remains at about 1/4‑inch deep. Taste the liquid about halfway through cooking and adjust seasoning if needed.
They are done when the endive is very tender and a pale golden color. Remove from the oven, discard parchment and garnish with parsley if using. Serve warm.
SERIOUS FUN FOOD
This review was sponsored by California Endive and is part of the Kitchen-Play Progressive Dinner Party. To find out more about how you can win $100 from Kitchen Play by trying this recipe, visit Kitchen Play.