Oh boy, here’s a fabulous recipe. Amusingly, it comes from a French cookbook called “Recettes Fraicheur” that my friend Christina brought back from France this summer. (The title translates, loosely, “Light & Fresh Recipes”.) We both dusted off our French (or more precisely, Christina removed a few motes, and I inches of accumulation) and together made this dish a few months ago. I can honestly say that it was the one of the best things I’ve ever tasted – bar none. Seriously! I will however say that whoever described this recipe as “light” must have been way into the sherry at the time. The dish is formed from puff pastry, and loaded with a soft, round cheese called Saint-Marcellin. It’s worthwhile tracking this particular variety down, as the nutty flavor of Saint-Marcellin does something magical with the slightly bitter endives to produce the most spectacular result.
This is definitely going to be on my Thanksgiving table this year.
Here’s the translated recipe:
Tatin d’endive au Saint-Marcellin
(Endive Tart with Saint Marcellin Cheese)
2 pounds of Belgian endive
1 tablespoon margarine/butter
1 tablespoon soysauce
1 teaspoon fine sugar
1 Saint-Marcellin cheese
1 package puff pastry dough
Salt and pepper to taste
Clean the endive, cutting off the base and cutting the shoots lengthwise. Place in a saucepan with the butter to brown, sprinkling them with half the sugar and soy sauce; when golden, flip and repeat. Remove from pan, salt lightly, as the soy sauce already contains quite a bit, pepper and let cool.
Place the endive in a shallow 9″ baking pan or pie dish, packing them in a single layer, fairly tightly. Cut up the Saint-Marcellin and scatter uniformly over the endive. Cover the top with pastry dough and place in a 350º oven for 30 minutes.
Take out of the oven, let sit for five minutes; with a sharp knife, cut around the edges of the pastry. Place plate on top, flip endive side up, and serve immediately.
Endive, by the way, which always seems so exotic, is nothing more than the shoots of chicory, harvested in the fall, brought in, and then forced . I’ll be showing you how to produce your own next spring, when it’s time to start the process by planting your own chicory outdoors.