09 July 2013

Endive Hand Salad with Orange and Capers

I have a few fun salad ideas up my sleeve, and since it's officially salad season, they will be the focus of this month's posts. Now, before you yawn and close the computer, let me just say that salads can be anything but boring. They can be vibrant and eclectic, whimsical and sensual, or hearty and rustic. It's all about having a variation of flavors, textures, and colors to keep your senses engaged. 

Whether you're looking for a quick saute to serve as a side for an outdoor grill party, a substantial stand-alone salad dinner for the dog days when you can't be bothered to turn on the oven, or a large platter style to serve a crowd, this month will have you covered in the greens department.

We had friends from the US visit recently, and we couldn't wait to catch up with them in person and enjoy the sunlit lake and mountains together. I served this endive hand salad at our dinner one night because it is fun to have platter-style, interactive dishes when serving a group. I hope you are also enjoying communal dinning with friends and can make this part of your shared experience.

It's an interactive salad because it's designed to be eaten with your hands straight from the platter. The endive leaves are cupped in a perfect way to hold sweet-tangy vinaigrette and lots of yummy bites of this and that. I chose to fill the leaves with some favorites: sweet and chewy sun-dried tomatoes, juicy orange segments, buttery pine nuts, and briny capers that pop in your mouth.

Making this for a dinner party? Prepare it ahead of time by assembling the salad on a platter and mixing the vinaigrette separately. Then pour the vinaigrette over once at the table.

Endive Hand Salad with Orange and Capers
Serves 4

Notes: This is a family-style salad in that it should be served on a large platter or plate and set in the middle of the table for everyone to interactively enjoy. So get out your most colorful oval, round, or square platter and spread the summery salad love!

3 large tight Belgian endive
3-4 Tbsp. small capers
6 sun-dried tomatoes (packed in oil), dabbed with a paper towel to remove some oil and sliced into thin slivers
2 large oranges, segmented (and halved if large)
3 Tbsp. pine nuts, toasted


Notes: I like to make a batch of this to use throughout the week tossed into green or grain salads. So if you don't use it all here, store in the fridge for a later use.

2 tsp. Dijon mustard
2 tsp. apricot preserves (orange marmalade or mango jam also works)
3 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

Slice the root end away from the endives and discard. Peel away the layers, arranging them on a large platter. As you peel, the layers get shorter and you'll want to thinly slice the thicker inner root (reserving to scatter over the endive cups) until more layers easily peel away.

Evenly distribute the remaining ingredients and thinly sliced endive root in each endive cup on the platter.

For the vinaigrette, whisk together all ingredients in a small bowl. Pour evenly into each endive cup just before serving.

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