Friday, August 5, 2011

Endive, corn and black eyed peas salad

The other day I bought Belgian endive with no plans on what to do with it. I had eaten it as an appetizer in a Moroccan restaurant; more like a vehicle for the appetizer. It is very good for scooping dips such as humus, baba ghanoush etc or creamy salads like a chicken salad or shrimp salad. The leaves when separated and filled with the dip or the salad makes an elegant presentation.

If you have not eaten a Belgian endive, it is the least bitter green of the chicory family.  While buying endive, choose those that are lighter in color - they are less bitter and with tightly packed leaves. I wanted to make a salad with them - so I paired it up with roasted corn - sweetness of the corn contrasts well with the slight bitterness of the endive. I also added some tomatoes for tartness and black eyed peas for crunch and protein. The salad is very lightly dressed with a smooth and slightly tangy roasted garlic vinaigrette.


Endive, corn and black eyed peas salad
1/4 cup dried black eyed peas
1 corn on the cob, roasted and kernels removed (or 1/2 cup frozen roasted corn)
1 vine ripened tomato, seeds removed and cubed
1 large Belgian endive
Roasted garlic vinagrette (recipe follows)

Roasted Garlic Vinaigrette
3 large cloves of garlic, unpeeled
1/2 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
1 1/2 teaspoon honey
2 tablespoons unfiltered extra virgin olive oil ( I love the flavor of unfiltered olive oil)
1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt or to taste

1. Soak the dried black eyed peas for 2 hours in hot water. Drain, cover will cold water and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook over medium heat for 20 minutes till they are tender but not mushy. Drain and cool.

2. Preheat over to 400°F for roasting the garlic. This should be done ahead. 

3. Snip the top of the garlic cloves, leaving the skin intact. Place the garlic cloves in a foil pouch with 1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil and place on a baking sheet. Roast the garlic until soft, about 20 minutes. 

4. Let the garlic cool and remove from the pouch. Squeeze the roasted garlic out of the skin - it will be like a paste. Transfer to a small bowl and whisk together with vinegar, honey, 1/4 teaspoon salt and dijon mustard. Then slowly whisk in the 2 tablespoons olive oil to form an emulsion. Check for seasoning and adjust to taste. Set aside.

5. Remove the outer leaves of the endive and chop into 1/2 inch pieces. Place in the serving bowl. De-seed the tomato and chop into 1/2 inch pieces as well. Add to the chopped endive. Now add the cooled black eyed peas.  

6. Remove the husk from the corn and roast over the stove top till it is charred but not burnt. This should take about 5 to 7 minutes at most. When it is cool enough to handle, remove the kernels and mix into the salad bowl along with the other ingredients. (If you do not have a gas stove, you can remove the kernels and steam it or use frozen roasted corn from Trader Joes.)

7. Drizzle the roasted garlic vinaigrette over the salad and toss lightly.

Serves 3.

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