Ever wonder why Belgian endive is white? The plant—a member of the chicory family—is traditionally grown using a two-step process. First, gardeners plant endive outdoors to develop its hearty roots. Before the first frost, the endive gets transferred to a dark, indoor place where it sprouts pretty little pale heads without the greening benefits of the sun. (Fellow vampire vegetable white asparagus has a similarly shadowy upbringing).
Endive has a high-end reputation because it used to be shipped to the United States from Europe, and was thus expensive and hard to come by. Today, domestic-grown plants stock the shelf at supermarkets year-round. The sturdy, bitter leaves make a great salad base. Here, we combine them with skinny slices of Braised Pork Belly and our Soubise Fluid Gel. The gel adheres winningly to the leaves, creating a great coat that reminds us of the best Caesar salads. Serve this one al fresco in the height of summer, or indoors on a dark winter’s day, when you’re feeling about as blanched and sun-deprived as an endive.
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