We’ve barely made it through the holiday season, and I’m already dreaming of the detox that will ensue in January. After months of indulging myself with every cookie, cake, and butter-filled dish, a little dose of healthy(ish) fare definitely couldn’t hurt.
That said, I’m not here to completely restrict myself to dry kale or romaine masked in some sort of dressing or another. What I find myself more attuned to is a salad that will satisfy my cravings all the while remaining relatively healthy and fresh.
Enter the endive salad from chef Ignacio Mattos’s inaugural cookbook Estela. Featuring recipes from his iconic New York establishment of the same name, the recently published title encapsulates Mattos’s affinity for no-fuss Mediterranean-inspired fare elevated with a touch of modern simplicity.
The salad in itself is a journey of the senses—comprising thoughtful layers of cleverly paired ingredients that result in an experience of culinary discovery. Underneath the composed blanket of endives (dressed in an orange-chardonnay vinegar), you’ll find the arguable star element of the dish: the walnut granola filling. The utterly indulgent and crunch-ified center encompasses an unexpected flavor profile that seamlessly transitions between sweet, savory, and spicy.
From the thoughtful pairings of the diverse range of ingredients to the simplicity of the refreshing vinaigrettes that further elevate the dish, this salad promises to be a departure from the ordinary. Here’s how you can re-create it at home.
Endive Salad With Walnuts And Ubriaco Rosso
By Chef Ignacio Mattos
Ingredients: Serves 4–6
For the vinaigrette
- 2 garlic cloves
- 4 large anchovy fillets, rinsed and patted dry
- 2 tablespoons garnacha vinegar
- 1⁄4 cup (60ml) extra-virgin olive oil
- Cracked black pepper
For the granola
- 1 1⁄2 cups (50g)
- 1⁄2-inch cubes of day-old sourdough (you want a few pieces with some dark crust)
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt
- 1 cup (100g) walnuts
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Chili flakes 1/3 cup (40g)
- Irregular pieces (1⁄4- to 1⁄2-inch Pecorino Duro) Ubriaco Rosso
- Scant 1/3 cup (about 35g) irregular pieces (1⁄4- to 1⁄2-inch Pecorino Duro)
For the endives
- 4 endives
- Kosher salt
- 1 medium orange
- 1 tablespoon chardonnay vinegar
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Make the vinaigrette: Pound the garlic cloves into a paste in a mortar with the pestle. Add the anchovies and pound until everything is fairly smooth but still slightly chunky. Add the vinegar, olive oil, and cracked black pepper to taste and mix to combine. The idea is to get a broken vinaigrette with pieces of anchovy still visible.
- Make the granola: Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Put the bread cubes on a baking sheet and toss with a few teaspoons of olive oil and a pinch of salt, then spread them out.
- Spread the nuts out on a separate baking sheet. Toast the bread and walnuts in the oven, tossing them every few minutes. Remove the nuts once they are dark and well roasted, about 8 minutes. Remove the bread once it’s dark brown and toasted all the way through, about 10 minutes.
- While the nuts are still warm, put them in a mortar, add a teaspoon of olive oil, a pinch of salt, a few generous cranks of black pepper, and a pinch of chili flakes and crush them into coarse chunks with the pestle.
- Using the bottom of a heavy pan, crush the bread cubes into chunks between 1⁄4 and 1⁄2 inch. (With each component, you want a mix of textures and sizes.) Combine the croutons, walnuts, and cheeses in a medium bowl. Dress with the vinaigrette, mixing well. Let sit while you prepare the endives so the croutons get a little softer and the flavors come together.
- Prepare the endives: Cut an inch off the bottom of each endive and discard. Gently peel back the leaves, continuing to trim the root as you go, until you get to the core (it’s the sweetest part of the endive). Cut each core in half lengthwise, or into quarters if it’s large, and toss them into the bowl. To serve, season the endives with a generous pinch of salt.
- Grate the zest of the orange evenly over the top of the endives, then halve the orange and squeeze the juices over the leaves. Add the vinegar and gently toss the leaves to coat, as you don’t want them to bruise. Spread the granola mixture evenly on two plates.
- Arrange the endive leaves on top so that they make little cups for the dressing. Sprinkle with salt, spoon on the orange juice mixture left in the bottom of the bowl, and drizzle on a bit of olive oil.