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ffwd: endives, apples, & grapes

This week’s selected recipe for French Fridays with Dorie epitomizes why I joined this cooking group. Every week, I learn something new. Some weeks, it’s a new technique, some weeks, it’s a new twist on a familiar recipe, and some weeks, like this week, it’s a new combination of ingredients. Some weeks, what I learn is something I incorporate into my kitchen life, and some weeks, what I learn doesn’t make the cut.

What about this week? I’ll admit that on paper, the recipe was uninspiring. Endives, are OK in salad, but eating them cooked, caramelized, no less, with fruit, seemed downright weird. I gave it a try. Endives, apples, grapes, rosemary braised in butter. The ingredients sit on the stove to caramelize, get flipped over, and the same is repeated on the other side. It really couldn’t have been easier.

I used a seasoned cast-iron pan to do the work. I didn’t have the recommended salted butter, so used unsalted with a generous sprinkle of sea salt in the pan. My endive didn’t caramelize after 20 minutes, but I flipped it anyway. The second side did a bit better during its turn. I did flip the endive back over one more time, and let it sit while I finished preparing the rest of dinner, and it browned a bit more.

What about the flavors? Much to my surprise, it has promise. On the plus side, I liked the texture of the cooked endive. The caramelization and light fruit juices offset its usual bitterness. The grapes were the star of the show. They caramelized, they softened, they were delicious!

As for what needs improvement, the apple (I used a Fuji) didn’t really soften (the opposite problem I had with the poached apples a few weeks ago). I’m thinking smaller pieces would have worked better, maybe eighths instead of quarters. Also, the rosemary didn’t seem to impart any flavor to the dish. It was quite aromatic when I put it in the skillet, so I’m not sure why I couldn’t taste it.

Conclusion? I liked it much more than I thought it would. Chalk one up for FFwD as I never would have tried this recipe otherwise. As we move into to the season of heartier vegetables, I can see trying this again with a medley of other vegetables, like the winter squash suggested in Dorie’s bonne idée, Brussels sprouts, carrots, parsnips. The list could go on. I might drop the apple, but the grapes are definitely a keeper.

We don’t publish the recipes for this cooking group, but Dorie already shared the recipe on Bon Appetit. You can also find it in Dorie Greenspan’s book Around My French Table.

For other bloggers’ take on this unusual recipe, check out their links here.

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