I came across this beautiful recipe for braised endives with oranges and pistachios in an orange reduction in the "The Temporary Vegetarian" column in The NY Times a few months ago and immediately bookmarked it. Previously I had only prepared endives as a quick appetizer, separating the leaves and topping with roasted sliced fig, crumbled Roquefort, and spicy candied pecans. I thoroughly enjoyed the way in which the juicy sweet figs, spicy candied pecans, and creamy, salty and piquant roquefort contrasted with the bitter and crisp endives.
When I read this recipe for braised endives, I immediately began to imagine how the bitterness of the endives would be balanced by the sweetness of the orange reduction. And the presentation sounded heavenly with crunchy pistachios and a gremolata garnish of bread crumbs, garlic, orange zest, and parsley.
It turned out to be a lovely dish with very pronounced, complementing flavors. I found the sauce a tad bit too sweet for my taste, even though I omitted the sugar called for in the original recipe. I think adding lemon juice would work well too. But then again, I just don't have a sweet tooth!
Endives are halved and braised in butter, olive oil, and white wine until tender.
Once the endives are done, orange (or blood orange) juice is added to the wine and reduced to a thick sauce. Orange (or blood orange) segments and pistachios are added to the bubbling sauce.
Gremolata, a mixture of bread crumbs, parsley, garlic and orange zest, is prepared as a garnish to finish the dish.
The gorgeous orange reduction is drizzled over the braised endives and the gremolata is sprinkled on top.
For the garnish:
2 tbsp dry toasted bread crumbs (i.e., not toasted in olive oil)
1/2 tsp finely grated orange zest
1/4 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp finely chopped parsley
For the endives:
4 heads endive, halved lengthwise
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp butter
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup white wine (I used a Sauvignon blanc)
1 1/2 cups orange juice (or blood orange juice)
1 tbsp shelled pistachios
6 orange segments (or blood orange segments)
In a small bowl, mix together toasted bread crumbs, orange zest, garlic and parsley; set aside.
Season endives with salt and pepper. In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, melt butter with olive oil. Place endives in pan cut side down. Once endive starts to lightly brown, about 5 minutes, add wine and reduce by three-quarters, another 4 to 5 minutes. As the wine begins to reduce, test endive for tenderness. Once the endive is tender, remove and transfer to a plate. Pat dry, cover, and set aside.
When the wine is reduced, add orange juice and sugar. Turn up heat and reduce to a thick, shining syrup, stirring frequently. Lower temperature to medium-high, add pistachios and orange segments, and heat for 1 minute.
Uncover endives, and transfer to two plates. Pour orange syrup with the pistachios and oranges over the endive. Garnish with the bread crumb mixture. Serve.