Whenever I’d visit my dad (I called him “Paps”) at his cabin on top of a mountain in upstate New York, I’d cook for him. He loved pasta, but I’d try to get him to eat more fresh vegetables.
Whenever I’d put a salad in front of him, this is what he’d say, in a low gruff voice…
“I’m not eatin’ that shit.”
He grew up really poor on the streets of New York City, the son of Italian immigrants. But he was smart, became a lawyer, then a professor. Paps was well-spoken and had a real command of the English language, but he cussed. It didn’t seem real vulgar to me, it was just the way he talked. And he was always blunt, never pulled a punch.
I’d tell him that fresh vegetables were good for him. He’d say…
“I’m 85 years old. I lived this long without eating that shit and I’m not gonna start now.”
I can imagine what Paps might say if I served this salad to him. All I’d have to do is tell him the ingredients—endive, arugula, and radicchio—and he’d probably cuss up a storm.
But I like salads. Especially during the summers out here in Palm Springs, Californee, when it’s so hot that even the camels won’t go outside.
They stay inside the Slim Shack, in the A/C.
This salad is one of my favorites, and I’ll tell you why. It’s delizioso, healthy, quick, good-looking, unique, and you can eat it with your fingers if you want.
What I basically did was peel off endive leaves and create little boats, which I filled with arugula and chopped radicchio. Then I added some crumbled gorgonzola and some toasted walnuts on each one.
I drizzled a little olive oil and some balsamic glaze on top (I used fig balsamic glaze, found it at Ralph’s, the local grocery) and topped it off with some freshly cracked black pepper.
She’s a-so nice!
Find the tallest/longest heads of endive that you can. The ones I used were about 5 inches tall.
Use the outer leaves, the first couple of layers. The inner leaves get smaller the more you peel and might not be big enough to hold everything.
I was gonna add some chopped dates or golden raisins, but I felt like I already had those flavors covered with the fig balsamic.
If you use regular balsamic, or white balsamic vinegar, some chopped dates or raisins or dried cranberries might go well on top of the gorgonzola.
I’d recommend using 3 or 4 endive leaves per serving, depending on the size of the endive. This recipe should serve four people.
Or one really hungry young person.
3 heads endive
2 cups arugula
2 cups chopped radicchio
½ cup crumbled gorgonzola cheese
¼ cup toasted chopped walnuts
Fig balsamic glaze
Pepper and salt to taste
Here we go…
Peel off four endive leaves, arrange in a fan on a salad plate.
Add some arugula inside each leaf.
Add some radicchio on top of the arugula.
Add some gorgonzola.
Add some toasted walnuts.
Drizzle with some olive oil and then some balsamic glaze.
Add some freshly cracked black pepper and salt to taste.
That’s one serving. Make as many as you can!
And that’s it. You can eat it with your fingers, if you like, and…