Last June, I finished a multi-year project of cooking through a cookbook (Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table). Through the process, my cooking skills and recipe repertoire expectedly expanded. Unexpectedly, as I compared notes with the other participants week after week about the recipes we prepared, my circle of friends expanded. Through our shared experience, I met others from around the world who shared my passion for cookbooks and food and home cooking. Even more unexpectedly, we found occasions to meet in person, bringing these friendships from the virtual world into the real one.
It’s been more than seven months since that project ended. The friendships continued. A handful of us joined Andrea, the Kitchen Lioness, in her Cottage Cooking Club, but many of us found that we missed sharing a common project and cooking together more regularly. As 2016 kicked off, Katie, the Prof Who Cooks, jumped in to lead the charge and rally the troops to embark on a new project this week. With “Cook the Book Fridays”, this group of cooking friends will start working our way through David Lebovitz’s My Paris Kitchen. I am thrilled to have a regular date scheduled with my blogging friends again.
This week, we start off with a Winter Salad. For this simple recipe, bâtons of Belgian endive are tossed with a thick Roquefort dressing. Roquefort, a sheep’s milk blue cheese, has a strong yet smooth flavor. It lacks the metallic aftertaste I find with many blue cheeses. The bitter greens contrast with the creamy dressing for an interesting salad for this time of year.
I had some trouble envisioning how to cut the endive. Cut it lengthwise, then lengthwise again? I was assuming that all the layers would have fall apart with the first set of cuts. Fortunately, it made more sense as I went along. Even with the root trimmed off, the first cut yielded slabs that could be cut lengthwise again to create the requisite bâtons. Voilà!
For the dressing, you mash the Roquefort into Greek yogurt, adding some zip with fresh lemon juice and some color with minced chives. The recipe makes a generous amount. I halved the entire recipe and still had half the dressing left over.
You really need to make this salad right before you eat it. We didn’t finish it all, so I ate the rest for lunch the next day. Not so good. The endive became soft, and without its crisp texture, didn’t have the same appeal as the freshly made salad.
It might be sacrilege to suggest it, but this salad (and/or the leftover dressing) would be perfect alongside Buffalo chicken wings to enjoy while watching Sunday’s Super Bowl: a French twist to an all-American event. (Admittedly, the game won’t be tuned in at our house, though we will be enjoying chili and other Super Bowl appropriate snacks. It’s not because the New England Patriots aren’t playing. I’m just anti-football.)
If this salad sounds good to you, check out what my friends thought of it here. Stay tuned every two weeks for my experience with another new recipe. Due to copyright considerations, I don’t share the recipe on my blog. You can find it on page 98 of David Lebovitz’s My Paris Kitchen. Or feel free to drop me a line and I’ll share it with you.