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Endive and Apple Salad with Warm Goat Cheese

Crisp and somewhat bitter when raw, Belgian endives develop a mellow, slightly nutty flavor when cooked. Pair them with sauteed apples, rounds of hazelnut-coated goat cheese, and a sweet-tart dressing for a salad that’s sure to become a weeknight favorite.

Serves 4

1 cup pomegranate juice

6 oz. goat cheese

½ cup finely chopped hazelnuts

3 Tbs. unsalted butter

2 large Belgian endives, halved lengthwise with core left intact, each half cut lengthwise into 4 pieces

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 firm, medium-sweet apples (like Fuji or Honeycrisp), peeled, cored, and cut into ½-inch dice (about 3 cups)

1 medium shallot, finely diced (about 3 Tbs.)

1 Tbs. cider vinegar

1 tsp. Dijon mustard

6 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil

4 oz. (4 lightly packed cups) baby spinach

1/3 cup fresh pomegranate seeds (optional)

2 Tbs. thinly sliced fresh chives

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 425°F.

In a small saucepan over high heat, reduce the pomegranate juice to about ¼ cup (it should be syrupy), about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, mash the goat cheese in a small bowl with a fork until smooth. Form the cheese into four 2-inch-diameter rounds. Put the hazelnuts on a small plate and press the goat cheese rounds into the nuts on all sides to coat. Transfer the cheese to a small baking sheet and bake until the nuts brown and the cheese softens, 8 to 10 minutes.

While the goat cheese bakes, melt 2 Tbs. of the butter in a 12-inch heavy-duty skillet over medium-high heat. Arrange the endives flat in the pan (they’ll fit snugly), sprinkle with ½ tsp. each salt and pepper, and cook, undisturbed, until browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Flip and cook until the other side starts to soften, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a large plate.

Melt the remaining 1 Tbs. butter in the skillet, add the apples and shallot, sprinkle with ¼ tsp. salt and cook, shaking the pan often, until the apples start to soften, 2 to 3 minutes.

Transfer the pomegranate juice to a medium bowl. Add the vinegar, mustard, and ½ tsp. each salt and pepper; whisk until combined. Gradually whisk in the oil and season with more salt and pepper to taste.

In a large bowl, toss the spinach and apples with half of the vinaigrette and season to taste with salt and pepper. Arrange the endives on 4 large serving plates, top with a mound of the spinach mixture, and then the goat cheese. Sprinkle with the pomegranate seeds (if using) and the chives and drizzle with the remaining vinaigrette. Serve. 


It is a quote. Fine Cooking Magazine October / November 2011

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