Braised lettuce? It seems like every blog is raving about braised or roasted lettuce. I have to admit that I have been tempted and then seriously disappointed with the taste and texture of the end result! But I recently came across one recipe for braised lettuce that has redeemed all the rest. It uses endive, which hold their shape and texture, combined with blood orange and burrata to balance their bitter taste and sprinkled with toasted almonds. The dressing is made from the juice of the orange and hazelnut or walnut oil.
You could skip the whole braising process and serve this as a raw salad but I have to say the quick sear changes the flavor of the endive, almost caramelizing it in a very pleasing way. And leaving it to rest after cooking with a drizzle of olive oil softens the texture without turning it into slime! I used blood oranges because they are available now but any orange or tangerine would also work. And ricotta would be a good substitute for the burrata.
So I have proven Adrienne’s motto again that all food is good food if you just know how to prepare it!
Braised Endive with Orange and Burrata
Unlike other lettuces, endive stands up to a quick sear to caramelize its leaves. The addition of orange and burrata cuts the bitterness of the endive with a touch of sweetness.
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 6 endives, ends trimmed, halved lengthwise
- 2 tablespoons sherry or apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped chives or mint
- 2 tablespoons flaked almonds, toasted
- 2 blood oranges
- 2 ounces burrata or fresh ricotta
- 2 teaspoons hazelnut or walnut oil, optional
- Coarse sea salt
- Step 1 Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over high heat in a large, nonstick or cast-iron skillet. When oil is hot, place the endives in the skillet cut side down and sear until very lightly browned (work in batches if necessary). Turn the heat down to medium/low and add the vinegar and salt to taste, cover and braise for three to five minutes depending on size, until the endives are tender. Transfer the entire contents of the pan into a large bowl, toss with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil, half the chives or mint. Set aside.
- Step 2 Slice one orange into rounds about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Remove the rind and pith from each slice and cut into quarters or eighths depending on size.
- Step 3 Arrange the endive mixture on salad plates. Garnish with orange sections and dollop the burrata on top. Slice the other orange in half and squeeze the juice of the orange onto the salads and then a drizzle of the hazelnut or walnut oil. Finish with the remaining herbs and almonds.