Endives are part of the chicory family and have a gentle bitterness to them, which, in this recipe, is balanced by honey. Endive leaves are the perfect shape to carry salads, and we often eat this salad with our fingers using the leaves as large spoons. I’m a bit of a black pepper nut, so I like this with a twist of pepper to finish, but I’ve found in recent travels through Italy that many people prefer to omit pepper from delicate salads like this. I leave it up to you to make the choice. The softer Gorgonzola dolce works best here.–Katie Caldesi
LC Ecstatic Over Endive Note
Mother Nature is such a savvy hostess. We know this because stunning red endive leaves make the perfect platter-to-pie-hole vehicle for salad at cocktail parties. (We gotta say, we tend to get a little ecstatic over endive. In particular, over red endive. It’s not only bolder in color, but sweeter in flavor. Go on, try it. You’ll like it. It’s not as common in some parts of the country as its paler kin, so if you see it, snatch it up.)
Endive Salad with Gorgonzola, Pine Nuts, and Honey
- 2 Belgian endives rinsed well and patted dry
- 3 1/2 ounces Gorgonzola cheese preferably dolce
- 2 tablespoons good-quality runny honey
- 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- Freshly ground black pepper (optional)
- Cut off the root ends from both endives and gently break apart the leaves, one by one, arranging them in a single layer on a platter or serving dish.
- Crumble the cheese over the endive leaves, ensuring that each leaf gets an equal helping. Drizzle or dribble the honey over the salad, raising the spoon high over the dish in concentric circles to create a lovely cobweb effect. [Editor’s Note: While the crazy concentric dribble is stunning to behold, it’s slightly sticky to consume. If you actually like the people you’re inviting over for nibbles and would rather not see them squirm, just spoon a touch of honey over the cheese rather than all over the endive.] Drizzle the olive oil over the salad in a similar circular fashion. [Editor’s Note: Ditto.]
- Just before serving, toast the pine nuts lightly in a dry skillet just until fragrant, 3 to 5 minutes (be careful because they burn easily). Scatter them over the salad and serve immediately with a generous twist of black pepper, if desired.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
How can something so simple be so delicious? This is a perfect, easy-to-make appetizer that’s also elegant enough for guests. I loved the contrast of the creamy Gorgonzola with the honey and endive. This recipe would also be great for summer when you don’t want to turn on the oven.
The simplest things are usually the most brilliant, and this endive salad is brilliant. This recipe made a fresh, delicious salad and cheese course for a morning brunch. I toasted the pine nuts the night before and found that two pieces of endive, dressed and served on individual chilled plates, made an adequate portion for each person. I let my guests choose if they wanted pepper, but I opted for a grind or two and thought it was excellent.
What a delicious salad and with such a beautiful presentation. It wasn’t just a hit, it was also simple to prepare. The tanginess of the cheese complemented the sweetness of the honey, and the pine nuts added just the right amount of crunch. I love Belgian endive, and its bitterness offset the sweetness of the other ingredients nicely. I used some honey from a friend’s hive, and it was perfect in this dish. I also added the suggested black pepper and am glad I did.
What a simple yet elegant salad–why didn’t I think of this before? The bitterness of the endive, the sweetness of the honey, and the delicate funk of the blue cheese are a sublime combination. The crunch from the pine nuts is a lovely addition. I preferred the dish with the light grinding of black pepper suggested by the author. The inner, more tender endive leaves work best in this preparation, so I’d recommend buying more endive than the recipe calls for and finding another purpose for the tougher outer leaves. Although this dish was great as a salad course, I plan to serve it as a passed hors d’oeuvre at an upcoming party. I know it’ll be a big hit.
This is an excellent dish that really highlights the endive. I made the salad for an outdoor dinner party, and it was a hit. Since the recipe calls for a few ingredients prepared simply, I’d recommend using the highest quality ingredients possible. I used a lovely orange blossom honey from a local farmers’ market and omitted the black pepper. You can fancy up the dish by carefully placing the cheese in each leaf instead of crumbling it on top and topping the cheese with pine nuts or even roasted walnut halves before drizzling the oil and honey on top. I’ll definitely be making this again.
The flavors in this recipe really come together and delight the tastebuds. It’s a lovely mixture of light endive, stinky cheese, sweet honey, toasted pine nuts, and a finishing touch of black pepper. The dish would serve equally well as an appetizer or salad.
I made this as an hors d’oeuvre and everyone enjoyed the flavor combination. I used the larger leaves from 3 heads endive and some Gorgonzola dolce. The cheese didn’t crumble easily, but I managed to mix it roughly with the cheese and honey then divide it among the endive leaves. I added the pepper and toasted pine nuts just before serving.
This little salad is oh-so-simple to prepare and elicited oohs and aahs from my dinner guests. If possible, I’d recommend using local honey–it’ll make your taste buds sing. Crisp endive is imperative, so look for fresh, firm heads at the supermarket. A good gorgonzola is creamy, not too sharp, and shouldn’t have an ammonia smell. I arranged the endive leaves in an artful display on each plate, dolloped the cheese, and drizzled with honey and extra-virgin olive oil. Dry roasting the pine nuts really enhances the flavor of this delicious salad, but be careful, as they burn quickly. Shake the pan and take it off the heat when the pine nuts are golden.
Whew! It takes longer to say the title then to make the dish. I really enjoyed this recipe. The crunchy, bitter endive, salty soft cheese, sweet honey, slightly spicy olive oil, and the toasted, buttery pine nuts were a winning combination and a nice change from a green salad. The recipe works as written, and it takes longer to say the title than to make the dish. I was a little confused by the recipe calling for “runny”’ honey since all honeys flow easily. I used a wildflower honey but look forward to trying another kind when I make this again. The endive holds up very well and can be picked up and eaten easily without all the goodies inside falling out. I’d definitely serve this again as a salad or appetizer.
I love endive salads, and this recipe makes a beautiful one. I added the optional black pepper and thought it enhanced the other flavors. I went to a cheesemonger for the Gorgonzola dolce, as I had trouble finding it at the supermarket, and it was definitely worth the trip. It has a soft flavor for a blue cheese that’s really nice with the other components. My husband generally doesn’t like blue cheeses but happily ate this. If making this dish for blue cheese lovers, I might try a stronger Gorgonzola to see how it turns out. The drizzles and crumbles make picking up and eating the leaves a little messy, so I think this recipe would work best for an informal dinner at home or a picnic.
This salad was delicious. Although endives aren’t dirty inside like leeks, I prefer to cut the ends off and pull the leaves apart before washing. This process requires a large sink full of water and a gentle touch, as the leaves bruise and tear easily. It also can’t be done more than a few hours in advance, as the leaves will start to oxidize. I like to place the washed leaves standing up in a strainer over a bowl in the refrigerator so they can both dry and crisp. Good Gorgonzola won’t crumble without a fight and tends to form gooey clumps on your fingers, so I broke up the cheese by pushing it through a cooling rack with a grid pattern placed over a bowl. While 3 1/2 ounces of cheese didn’t look like much, a little went a long way. I lined up the endive leaves on a sheet pan, topped them with cheese, and drizzled them with the oil and honey, carefully avoiding the tips of the leaves so that they could be picked up cleanly. Then I placed them neatly on a platter. I substituted walnuts for the pine nuts and would suggest toasting them first to speed up assembly.
Originally published December 16 2013