The endive – cousin to chicory – is an under-appreciated bitter-leafed vegetable. It caramelises really well if grilled and then drizzled with honey. A bowl of this fresh salad is a winner alongside a simple steak, and can even be enjoyed as a dish on its own.
Prep time: 15 min
Cooking time: 1 hr 20 min
3 large endives, washed and halved
125 ml water
5 ml granulated sugar
2.5 ml white wine vinegar
50 ml honey
100 g spelt or barley, rinsed
250 ml Chicken Stock
2 cloves garlic
150 g peas, fresh or frozen
60 ml olive oil
4 medium-sized lemons, juiced, skin reserved
20 g fresh parsley, roughly chopped
Sea salt and ground black pepper
2 gem lettuces, cut into wedges or leaves picked
Caramelised Sunflower Seeds
50 g sunflower seeds
10 ml Chinese five spice
30 ml granulated sugar
Pinch fine sea salt
Cut off most of the stalks of the endives and remove several of the leaves. Trim the ends until neat.
Combine the endives, water, sugar, vinegar and honey in a large frying pan over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Make sure the endives are in a single layer in the pan and braise for about 10 minutes, turning occasionally. When pierced with a knife the stalks should be soft.
Increase the heat and cook until almost all the liquid has evaporated and the endives are turning golden brown. Caramelise for 5–10 minutes, then remove from the heat and set aside.
Place the spelt or barley in a medium-sized saucepan and cover with the vegetable or chicken stock. Add the garlic and cook over medium heat until all the liquid has evaporated and the spelt is soft. This will take 45–60 minutes. Remove the garlic and strain the spelt. Flatten out on a baking tray and cool in the fridge.
Blanch the peas in boiling water and immediately place in ice water to cool down.
Mix the olive oil and lemon juice with the parsley. Season with salt and pepper.
To caramelise the sunflower seeds, toast the seeds in a non-stick medium-sized pan for about 3 minutes over medium heat. Stir in the five spice and sugar, stirring constantly until the sugar has melted and all the seeds are coated with a thick layer of caramel. Sprinkle with salt and turn out onto wax paper. Allow to cool.
Gently mix the endives, peas, gem lettuce and spelt on a plate and toss with the olive oil and lemon juice dressing. Grate some of the skin from a lemon into the salad and toss. Sprinkle with caramelised sunflower seeds and serve.