Our Progressive Eats theme for July is Grilling Time. While I do love to grill main courses such as salmon and vegetable shish kebabs, I decided that my contribution this time would be a side dish – Grilled Belgian Endive.
Belgian endive is a torpedo-shaped vegetable, generally from 4-6 inches long. The stem runs from the bottom to the middle, holding the pearly leaves together, tightly closed. Belgian endive grows from chicory seeds. It is also in the same plant family as curly endive or escarole, also known as frisée.
Chicory seeds are also a major component in New Orleans-style coffee. When I first learned that, it seemed like a strange common thread. However, then I realized that the slight bitterness in the coffee and the sharpness of Belgian endive are indeed related.
Raw, the smooth leaves of Belgian endive form a crisp edible appetizer “boat.” Slightly bitter in a pleasing way, they are also delicious chopped in salads, a flavorful contrast to plain lettuce.
When grilled, Belgian endive becomes silky smooth. It takes only minutes to cook, cut in half and basted with vinaigrette dressing.
While I like the slightly bitter taste, grilled Belgian endive also does well slightly sweetened. And so, I’ve paired it with a simple homemade honey mustard vinaigrette.
Don’t be put off by the fancy name, or the fact that Belgian endive isn’t always front-and-center in the grocery store produce aisle. Once you recognize it, you may well find that Belgian endive has been there all along. Often on a shelf near the lettuce, escarole, and other greens, this hardy vegetable stays fresh when refrigerated for more than a week. And if you do happen to have one that is bruised, no problem. Grilled Belgian endive hides cosmetic imperfections while delivering great taste.
Welcome to Progressive Eats, our virtual version of a Progressive Dinner Party. This month we’re featuring It’s Grilling Time! hosted by Jane Bonacci, the author of The Heritage Cook. Today we are sharing recipes that are prepared on a barbecue or grill. Savory and sweet, you can cook your entire meal outside keeping your kitchen cool and perfect for hot summer evenings. We know you’ll enjoy the kiss of smoke in every bite!
- Succulent Grilled Prime Rib (Gluten-Free) from The Heritage Cook
- Grilled Flank Steak and Asparagus with BÈarnaise Butter from Creative Culinary
- Grilled Brazilian Rub Salmon from Jeanette’s Healthy Living
- Grilled Fattoush Salad with Chickpeas-Sweet Peppers Naan from The Wimpy Vegetarian
- Grilled Belgian Endive from Mother Would Know
- Buttermilk Panna cotta with Grilled Mango Sorbet from Spice Roots
- Grilled Buttermilk Pound Cake with Peaches and Mascarpone from The Red Head Baker
- Grilled Peach Melba from That Skinny Chick Can Bake
- Smoked Caramel Pineapple Ice Cream (No Churn) from Pastry Chef Online
PS – If you are interested in gluten-free bread, Jane has just co-authored The Gluten-Free Bread Machine Cookbook. It’s now available for pre-order. Check it out!
Grilled Belgian Endive
- 4 endives
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons honey divided
- 1/2 teaspoon salt Kosher or sea salt
- Freshly ground pepper
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon or 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh tarragon, chopped
- 2 tablespoons flat leaf parsley finely chopped - optional, for garnish
Make sure your grill is hot.
Cut off the tips and bottoms of the Belgian endive and either dip it in water (then drain upside down) or pull off any the outermost layer of leaves if damaged or dirty. Cut each endive in half length-wise.
Make the dressing by mixing the lemon juice, the Dijon mustard, 1 teaspoon of the honey, the salt and pepper. Then add the olive oil and tarragon and mix again. This makes about 1/2 cup of vinaigrette dressing.
Baste each half generously with the dressing on both sides. Add the remaining teaspoon of honey, basted on the cut (open) side of each half.
Grill the Belgian endive halves, covered, for about 5-7 minutes on each side. Turn them gently, so that the leaves remain attached to the core.
When done, gently remove the endive halves to a serving platter. Garnish with the chopped parsley.
You probably won't use all of the vinaigrette for basting the Belgian endive. So if you pour about 1/3 of it into a small bowl for basting (and only add more if necessary), you can keep the rest untouched and save it to use as salad dressing.
It's best to use a grill basket so the Belgian endive halves and any leaves that fall off during grilling do not fall through the grate.
While the leaves should remain attached during grilling, as they cook, the halves become more delicate.