Our chef suggests: Ever-present endives - The Best from Greece

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Posted on: 21/Jun/2012 The Best From Greece Culinair Chocolates, mussels and fried potato chips were definitely among my favourites

AS A teenager living in Brussels, I discovered the ingenuity and creativity of Belgian cuisine, with its many incredible but often rich culinary delights. Chocolates, mussels and fried potato chips were definitely among my favourites, but this is where I also discovered the healthy Belgian endive with its crisp texture and deliciously nutty, well-rounded flavour with a subtle bitterness.
A member of the chicory family that includes the radicchio, escarole and curly endive, the Belgian endive is rich in vitamins A, B, C and K, high in fibre and a good source of potassium. This versatile veggie can be served raw, stewed, broiled or baked and can be enjoyed all year round, as it is always in season.
With only 17 calories per elegant little head, it’s an ideal, one-calorie per leaf salad ingredient, which I love served with orange wedges, fresh mint and homemade or store-bought olive dip.

A generous drizzle of a feisty salad dressing will, of course, make this simple salad taste even better and, personally, I like it with the calorie-conscious summery citrus salad dressing I recently suggested in the Athens News (June 8), but this decision I’ll leave up to you!
Belgian endive and orange salad
(per person)
1 good-sized Belgian endive
½ - 1 orange
Fresh mint to taste
Orange or lemon zest to taste
  • Peel and deseed the orange. Cut the orange segments from the membrane, place in bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Chill in refrigerator until ready to use.
  • Just before serving the salad, slice the chicory in half but diagonally so you get loose leaves and a solid stalk end. The leaves will be easy to separate. Thinly slice or arrange whole leaves on a serving plate. Top with oranges, drizzle with a salad dressing of your choice and garnish with fresh mint and orange or lemon zest to taste.
  • Serve with store-bought or homemade savoury olive dip, as outlined below.
Savoury olive dip
(Yield: one full cup)
250g pitted Kalamata olives or a mixture of two types of pitted olives
2-3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
½ tsp dried oregano
  • Place pitted olives into a blender or mini food processor with a sharp blade. Pulse or blend with olive oil and oregano until the olives are mashed and you have a chunky olive dip. Set aside or store in refrigerator until ready to use.
  • My favourite mixture involves 150g pitted and sliced Kalamata olives and 100g pitted and sliced green olives
Salad dressing ideas
Once you have a basic vinaigrette that you like, be creative and enhance your summer salads and meals by trying out different oils, herbs, vinegars, fruit and other ingredients:
  • Vinegars: red-wine, white-wine, balsamic, sherry and raspberry
  • Herbs: thyme, oregano, basil, rosemary, tarragon, dill or any other fresh herb
  • Oils: olive, canola, walnut, hazelnut, herb-flavoured, sesame, peanut, safflower
  • Fruit juices instead of vinegar: lemon, lime, grapefruit, orange, apple, pineapple, cherry
  • Fruit juices to replace part of the oil: vegetable juices and non-acidic fruit juices
  • Other additions: scallions, onions, garlic, chives, mustard, dry mustard, honey, lemon or orange zest, white wine, dry vermouth, red wine, capers, sliced olives, sundried tomatoes and diced veggies


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