The kind folks with California Endive surprised me with an early Valentine today - a bouquet of beautiful endives! I thought it was so clever, mostly because I think it would be such a fun hostess gift. I've always waited for the day when someone brings me a large Brussels sprout stalk or the like to be quirky and fun - not to mention useful!
Anyway, with this surprise vegetable bounty, I decided to put it to use with some things lingering in my pantry and fridge. The result, a delightful meal!
1/2 large head cauliflower, cut into bite-sized florets (2-3 cups)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon truffle salt (or sea salt)
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 pound whole wheat pasta
2 slices bacon, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 sundried tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup olives, chopped
1/2 cup fresh grated Parmigiano Reggiano
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Lay out cauliflower florets on a baking sheet, then drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle with the truffle salt and pepper. Toss to combine then place in the oven to roast for 30 minutes, until cauliflower begins to brown. Remove and place in a large bowl.
Meanwhile, place a large pot of water to boil. Cook pasta until al dente. Drain and add to the cauliflower bowl.
While pasta cooks, heat a cast iron or other skillet on medium heat and cook bacon until browned. Remove with a slotted spoon and set on a paper towel-lined plate, reserving oil. Add garlic to the drippings and saute one minute. Remove garlic and add to pasta bowl. Add the sun dried tomatoes, olives and Parmigiano Reggiano and toss to combine. Bon Appetit!
Endive Surprise Salad
2 endives, cores removed and outer leaves roughly chopped
reserved bacon drippings (from recipe above!)
4 ounces spring mix
6 dates, chopped
1 ounce toasted walnuts
Balsamic vinegar to taste
Salt and pepper
After removing the garlic from the bacon drippings in the cast iron skillet from the cauliflower pasta, I added the endive to the skillet to saute it in the drippings for 3-4 minutes. Next add it to a large bowl, then add in the lettuce mix, dates and walnuts and toss to combine. Top with balsamic vinegar, Parmigiano Reggiano and salt and pepper and toss to combine. The bacon drippings that cling to the endive will combine with the vinegar for a delightful dressing.