The endive and Roquefort salad is a popular one, but for good reason. The bitter crunch of the endive and piquant creaminess of Roquefort balances the smooth and the intense. The sweet pear and woody walnuts are the Tweedledum and Tweedledee of the salad—never far behind, and almost always found together.
I am not someone to stand in the way of whatever works. But there is a tradition in France of baking endive, usually in a gratin, where it's rolled in ham and smothered in Gruyère: now that is delicious. So I thought, why not try roasting the endive and pears, to soften the former, and intensify the latter. I pile them into a composed salad with soft, baby arugula, the requisite walnuts, and a drizzling of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Planks of spicy Roquefort shingle the top. It's a wintry take on the perennial salad.
About the author: Kerry Saretsky is the creator of French Revolution Food, where she reinvents her family's classic French recipes in a fresh, chic, modern way. She also writes the The Secret Ingredient series for Serious Eats.
- 4 Belgian endives, quartered lengthwise
- 2 Bosc pears, cored and stemmed, cut into 8 wedges each
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra to taste
- 1/2 cup walnut halves
- 4 cups baby arugula
- 4 ounces Roquefort, cut in 4 to 6 slices (you could also crumble the cheese)
- Balsamic vinegar, to taste
Place rack in center of oven and preheat to 425°F. Arrange endives and pears in single layer on parchment lined rimmed baking sheet. Toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil and season to taste with salt and pepper. Roast until tender, about 30 minutes, turning once with a pair of tongs.
Arrange walnut halves on small, rimmed baking sheet and place in oven with endives and pears for last 5 minutes of cooking time. When toasted, roughly chop walnuts.
Allow endives and pears to cool for 5 minutes at room temperature. Arrange on top of bed of baby arugula. Season salad lightly with salt and pepper. Top with walnuts and slices of Roquefort. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar to taste.