Mâche Salad with Endives and Beets Recipe

Salade de Mâche, Endives et Betteraves

As the weather in Paris becomes increasingly springlike — hello daffodils! come sit by me on the kitchen counter! — I thought it was high time I illustrate the point I recently made about salads and the ones that carry us through to the end of winter (however mild ours has been).

The original motive for this one was to try and vanquish my dislike of endives, one of the very last bastions of my childhood aversions. It is going to require more work before I clap my hands at the thought of endives au jambon — even my mother’s — but at least this salad has flown me over the raw endive hurdle.

It’s a simple trick to play on one’s senses, really: if the taste buds recoil in the face of bitterness, they may tolerate it when balanced with sweeter, more consensual flavors. And given time and multiple exposures, they may even grow to enjoy that grown-up, mixed-signal pleasure. It is a strategy well-known to pharmaceutical companies, though one might wish they used beets and parmesan more often than the revolting artificial strawberry.

And this is how this salad works: you carve out the hearts of small endives — therein lies most of their bitterness, if only you knew what they’ve been through — and toss them with roasted beets and mâche, a fleshy winter salad for which baby spinach could be substituted.

The colorful trio receives a sprinkle of parmesan and toasted seeds — I keep a jar of pumpkin, sunflower, and sesame seeds for such purposes — before it is dressed in olive oil paired with a tangy-sweet agent: balsamic vinegar, pomegranate molasses, this rejoicing staple of the Lebanese pantry, or oxymel, a versatile syrup of honey, vinegar, spices, and fruits with which I’ve recently been playing to lovely results.

The product of these simple steps is a good sidekick to a juicy chicken thigh or a grilled sole, and it makes a fine lunch in its own right when topped with diced ham or a poached egg. The recipe is — need I stress it? — open to endless variations in terms of dressing and accessories: I like the addition of green peppercorns, crushed, or a few cloves from a head of fresh garlic, finely minced.

Salade de Mâche, Endives et Betteraves

– 3 small endives
– 2 medium beets, roasted
– 4 bulging handfuls of mâche, a.k.a. lamb’s lettuce
– 1 tablespoon olive oil
– 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar, pomegranate molasses
– Fine sea salt and freshly ground pepper
– 1 1/2 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan
– 1 1/2 tablespoons toasted seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, sesame, flax, hemp, or a mix of these)

Serves 4 to 6.

Carve out and discard the hearts of the endives, and slice the rest thinly. Peel the beets and dice their flesh. If your mâche came in bouquets and the roots seem a little rough, trim them; leave as is otherwise.

In a medium salad bowl, whisk together the olive oil and vinegar. Add the endives and beets, and toss to coat. Season with salt, and flavor with pepper. Fold in the mâche, working gently to avoid bruising the leaves. Sprinkle with parmesan and seeds, and give the salad a final toss.

You can serve the salad immediately or let it sit in the fridge for a few hours — the mâche may wilt slightly, but the flavors will meld more deeply. The leftovers make an excellent packed lunch the next day.

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  • http://www.monikakorngut.com/main.htm Monika Korngut

    Wow! I also have an aversion to endives that I always wanted to remedy. This is an excellent salad idea. I have never heard of oxymel nor pomegranate molasses. I love the post. I just wish I could find these ingredients here.

    Have a good one :)

  • http://leonine194.canalblog.com leonine19

    i’m loving it!!

  • kathie

    A favourite salad vegetable since I came to live in France 16 years ago. And all because of my husband’s wonderful vinaigrette made from walnut vinegar,sunflower oil, mustard, garlic salt and pepper. It’s just sliced endives (chicory in English) a handful of salted peanuts and then the above mentioned dressing. Lovely jubbly.

  • http://www.ifoods.blogspot.com Niall Harbison

    In school in Belgium Endive with ham was a regualr feature, the heavy bechamel sauce didn’t make it any better! It’s only recently whilst working on a superyacht in France that i tried cooking it again! I caramalized it with brown sugar and honey and served it with fois gras. I just thought what is the best ingredient i could pair it with, surprisingly i loved it and so did the guests!

  • caroline

    Monika: pomegranate molasses is easy to make; just simmer pom juice with sugar and lemon juice until it forms a syrup. Or you can find it at a Middle Eastern grocery if there’s one near you.

    Oxymel I have never heard of but I’m really intrigued by the idea– I wonder if that could be made at home too?

  • http://www.maminaclaude.canalblog.com/ mamina

    Un régal d’abord pour les yeux à cause des couleurs puis pour les papilles à cause des saveurs… douceur, amertume et acidité…

  • Alisa

    Raw endives in salads and a few other ways I really like. Cooked endives give me the heebie jeebies. And that is not good.

  • http://www.googrec.com/blog nabila

    Endives with oxymel, what a great idea!I am gonna try it!
    Thank you
    Nabila

  • ZooTrouble

    Mmmm, endives!

  • http://www.abigailpercy.blogspot.com Abigail

    I just came back home this weekend after a week in Paris…and so seeing this {and wanting to try it!} is exactly the antidote I needed to missing France so much.

    I saw beautiful fresh piles of endives stacked up in Bon Marche – the paultry few sadly sitting on the shelves here in Scotland don’t quite inspire in the same way, but I will grab some and try and trasform them into something {with your help} wonderful nonetheless…:)

  • Donna

    I adore endive – even endive au jambon!- and am always trying to find ways to use it. It’s in almost EVERY salad I make! One of my favorites is a beautiful endive salad I love to serve at Christmas. I use chopped endive, pomegranate seeds and some type of blue cheese – St. Agur works well. Toss with a simple vinaigrette and enjoy! When I want green in it, I use baby spinach, but mache would work well, also!

    I am eager to try this one, Clotilde!

    Donna

  • http://alfredthepug.blogspot.com Rita

    Thanks for posting something with mâche. My friend Louise told me about this type of salad green and she said that in France it is usually sold wrapped in lavender colored paper. Maybe, if you get a chance, you could post a picture of it in your Moblog.

    J’aime ton blog!

  • http://foodblogga.blogspot.com Susan from Food “Blogga”

    I love to pair bitter endive with sweet items such as oranges and tart ones such as dried cherries. This is a lovely, colorful salad I’ll be sure to make.

  • Rachel

    I’m another member of the endive-haters’ camp – so much so that I think I’ll probably try making this salad sans endive! (I know, I know, it defeats the whole purpose of the thing. ;) ) I like the idea of a balsamic vinaigrette, parmesan and seeds on mache and beetroot though – I’ll definitely be taking this recipe with me on my next visit to the farmer’s market.

  • Sara

    Off topic, but thanks so much for your recommendations on cooking stores in Paris. I just was there this weekend and stocked up on some wonderful cooking equipment that I can’t wait to use (as soon as I shake this cold!). I am of course full of inspiration from the wonderful food as well. I hope you enjoyed the weekend, what great weather you had!

  • http://www.blueVicar.com blueVicar

    Okay, I can imagine this lovely salad, but that pain perdu on the previous post…that’s really appealing at the moment. Still, it’s hard to go wrong with the recipes you offer. Anything you prepare, I’ll eat. (Well, that’s pretty bold of me…perhaps I should say, most anything you prepare, I’ll eat.)

    Meilleurs voeux!!

  • Linda

    this photograph is phenomenal. i don’t think i’ve ever seen a salad look so divinely scrumptious! And i love salad but this is truly outstanding. thanks for sharing!

  • Cappucine

    Wow! Oxymel: i have never heard of it before, but it seems like the kind of condiment i enjoy ^_^ ….. pity about the name, though; it sounds like a brand of antibacterial spray!

  • http://potsdishesplants.blogspot.com Cori

    It looks beautiful.

  • http://www.whatgeekseat.com Vanessa

    I love mache, and beets, and I too recoil from endive…but now I have this recipe I’m ready…bring onthe endive.

  • Bonnie et Clyde

    This looks good; I’m always excited for new salad dressing ideas.

    Doesn’t the endive get very brown very quickly if sliced as you instruct? I find that all members of the chicory family should be torn instead of cut to avoid becoming brown.

  • http://bluekitchen.wordpress.com Terry B

    I used to share your aversion to bitter greens such as endives. Then at Lucien, a lovely French restaurant in Manhattan’s East Village, I had a wonderful salad starring endives.

    A dozen or so cupped endives leaves were arranged in a star pattern on a large plate. Then chopped walnuts, blue cheese and the rest of the endives head chopped were tossed with a simple vinaigrette and served piled in the center of the star. You then used the individual leaves to scoop up the nut/cheese/endives filling. Beautiful and delicious!

  • http://www.casaamada.blogspot.com Denise

    I just want to let you know what a treat your blog is. It is as lovely as a magazine, and I get to visit regularly for my next treat. Thank you!

  • http://www.chattegitane.com patricia

    ooooh I love endives or chicory in any shape or form, being Belgian.
    After living in Ireland for 7 years we moved to France. The first thing that made it’s way into my shopping trolley was, yes, endives and celeriac.

  • http://condimentqueen.typepad.com cq

    There are some fantastic restaurants doing lovely things with endive in London which have transformed my opinon. Ottolenghi does two lovely versions with a sharp and tangy mustard vinagrette or like the above comment with walnuts and a blue cheese (gorgonzola i think) dressing.

  • http://lafillenaturelle.blogspot.com Aletheia

    yum!! this cool salad idea has got me writing ‘mâché’ down on my next grocery list. Never tried this green before – excited!

  • Donna M.

    Hope you will have more mâché (feldsalat) recipes. I first had it in Germany in late 60’s. When visiting in 1990 got seeds and planted here in the lower Sierras. Lasted for 2 seasons. I know I can get seeds—just keeping deer away. Area inside fence not enough sun. Plus deer can hop 6 foot fences if want. Wish would see at farmers market here or Bakersfield. Really miss it.

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Thanks for your comment Donna. Perhaps you can talk to one of the growers at the farmers market and see if they’d consider growing it? Sometimes all it takes is one customer’s request!

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