I enjoy Martha Rose Shulman’s recipes featured in The New York Times, and recently a recipe caught my eye – it was Seared Belgian Endive With Walnut Gremolata. I have been cooking braised Belgian endive for years and had heard the term “gremolata” but, gremolata was not part of my repertoire. So, I investigated the term and found that it is a very simple Italian mixture of parsley, garlic, and lemon zest. Here is a good link to learn all about gremolata.
Since the mixture is so simple, it lends itself to variations, such as in Martha Rose Schulman’s addition of walnuts. I cheated a bit and used cilantro because I didn’t have parsley, but in this particular dish it turned out so well that it stays just as it is. Frankly, I misread her directions and added the oil to the walnut mixture, and I like that too, so that stays as well. I will save making gremolata the right way for some other dish.
- ¼ cup walnuts
- 1 small bunch of cilantro
- 1 lemon
- 2 garlic cloves
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 4 good-size heads of Belgian endive
- Lightly toast the walnuts in a small skillet – enough so they become fragrant.
- Finely chop the walnuts.
- Finely chop the cilantro, enough to make up 2 tablespoons.
- Wash the lemon well, dry it with a paper towel or a tea towel, and using a microplane greater/zester, grate 2 teaspoons of lemon zest.
- Finely mince the garlic cloves.
- Mix the walnuts, cilantro, lemon zest, garlic, salt and one tablespoon of oil in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Trim the bottoms of the Belgian endives, and cut in half, lengthwise.
- Heat the other tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
- Place the endive halves in the skillet, cut side down. Don’t crowd the pan.
- Cook for about 5-7 minutes, until golden brown on the cut side.
- Transfer to a platter or individual plates, cut side up.
- Spoon the walnut gremolata mixture over each endive half.