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Endive Spring Salad

April 19, 2011
By Wendy Monro - Food Writer

It's spring break here in Vegas. Daphne, my daughter, is on a trip with her history class. They are visiting the East Coast: Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, and Washington D.C.. I have been so excited about sending her on this trip. I took the exact same trip with my junior high when I was her age. I'll never forget that experience. I was determined to get her there with the other students. Thank goodness, my mom helped us make it happen. We started planning this trip six months ago. All of a sudden, spring break arrived and we were packing her bags.

Nothing could prepare me for the way I felt driving her to the airport. I had a complete anxiety attack. When we arrived at the airport, Daphne got a little nervous, "I don't know about this, mom," she said. I tried to take deep breaths, "I don't know about this either," I replied. I hoped she and Jack weren't sensing my panic. We kept walking towards the ticketing counter. As soon as Daphne saw all of her friends, she was happy and excited. That's when I had my emotional melt down. All of the other parents looked fine. At least, I think they did. I could barely see through my fountain of tears. Well, I went through with it. Now, she is almost three thousand miles away from me, and having an amazing time.

The next day, Claud and I drove our son, Jack, out to my mom's house in California, so he would have something fun to do for spring break. My mom planned a dinner party for our arrival. She knows we love mingling with friends when we come to her house. I was so excited. I love dinner parties. Before we started to eat, Daphne called and asked everyone to video chat with her. It was so nice for everyone to see her pretty face. It was like she was a part of the party even though she was so far away. A couple of days into her being away and I am feeling much better about all of this. Well, it was late in New York and we were ready to get the food out to the guests. We said good night to Daphne.

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Submitted Photo

The finished endive salad is pictured here.

For the dinner party, my mom made grilled fillet mignon, Brussel sprouts, and baked potatoes with all of the fixings. Claud and I said we would make the salad. Claud wanted to teach me how to make a classic French spring salad called Frisee Aux Lardons or as it is sometimes called, Salad Lyonnaise. It is a salad made with Frisee and bacon. Unfortunately, the store we visited as we came into my mom's town did not have any frisee. Can you believe it? Well, once again, we were forced to substitute. We chose endive instead. It is another hearty bitter lettuce and Claud believed it would work well with the dressing. Since Daphne was not with us, it didn't matter that the dressing involves an ample supply of bacon. Yes, this salad has bacon, shallots, and a poached egg. Yummy.

I think this would be a perfect salad for an Easter brunch. It's easy to make and looks beautiful. It actually looks like spring. Usually, poaching the eggs would be the most difficult part of this dish. However, you should have seen Jack poaching the eggs. He made it look effortless. Each egg came out perfectly. He is really turning into a great chef. If only he would eat some of the food we are teaching him to make. Some day, maybe he will. The best part is about this salad is that it tastes so amazing. We added avocado and crumbled blue cheese for added levels of flavor. Everyone loved the way it looked and how it tasted. The salad was a big hit. The day after the party, Claud and I headed back to Vegas and left Jack to spend the week with his grandparents in California.

It is so quiet at my house right now.

Fact Box

Endive Spring Salad Recipe

Serves: 4

Time: 30 minutes

1 cup distilled white vinegar

4 pieces thick sliced bacon

1 pound of endive

1 head of green leaf lettuce (if frisee is available, use only the frisee)

1 avocado, sliced

2 shallots

cup red wine vinegar

cup olive oil

pinch of salt and pepper

cup crumbled blue cheese

4 eggs, poached

Fill a large pot with water and the white vinegar and turn the heat on high. This water is to poach the eggs. Cut the bacon into one-inch pieces. In a hot skillet, fry the bacon. Set out four salad plates and place a layer of green leaf lettuce on the plate. Flare out the pieces of endive on top of the green leaf, like flower petals. Place avocado slices on each plate. Slice the shallots and saut them with the bacon. Add the red wine vinegar and the olive oil. Heat for five minutes more. Add a pinch of salt and pepper to the bacon dressing. Sprinkle the blue cheese on the lettuce and avocado. Pour the bacon mixture into a bowl. Once the water is at a rolling boil, slowly place the eggs into the water with a ladle. The vinegar and the ladle will be your key to success. Let the eggs poach for about 3 - 5 minutes, until the whites are completely set. Place one poached egg on each plate. Ladle the dressing onto each plate. Serve and enjoy.

We are thinking about inviting some of our friends over for an all adult's dinner party.

I know we will start things off with this delicious spring salad. Maybe I can even find some frisee this time and make it the traditional French way. Either way, great food is bound to make me miss my kids less and enjoy our adult time more.

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