Monday, October 25, 2010

Endive and Persimmon Salad--Inspired by a Super Model

A couple of days ago, I was checking what's new in the world, while drinking my first coffee of the day and wondering what recipe to post next, when I got an email from a friend who is a great fashionista. He was bragging about the posh parties he had recently attended. It read like a real high-life reportage, straight out of the pages of Vanity Fair, written be a fashion corespondent focusing on every detail of (mostly his own) attire.

His excitement was fueled by the sight of Inès de la Fressange, a great French super model from the eighties, whom he met at one of the recent parties. Inès became large than life when she posed for Marianne, the symbol of the French Republic. She has always been one of my favorite models, a rare natural brunette, with an inimitable personal elegance and style, transcending her professional image as a Chanel model.

At the party where a friend of mine spotted her, she was wearing a yellow dress, which I am sure beautifully complemented her dark eyes and hair. In contrast to her smashing looks, she drove away in a workmen's van. What a photo opportunity! Unfortunately, a friend of mine was so mesmerized by her appearance, that he forgot that he had a camera in his phone.

Yeah--I thought after reading his email--some live the high life and get to see the most beautiful women in the world, and some live an ordinary life, trying to capture a beauty of everyday food.

Still in that mood, later that day, I opened my refrigerator. I took out endive and decided to make a salad with just one objective--to make it look elegant. Endive has little nutritious value, but also almost zero calories and a lot of fiber--a great dish for those on diet.

Endive was one of very few vegetables that were thriving in my parents' yard, and every winter we enjoyed its bitter taste in salads. At that time, endive was completely unknown in Poland and eating it regularly for dinner was making me a culinary snob. Probably from that period I have a sentimental attachment to endives, and although I know that green lettuces are much richer in vitamins, I still buy a lot of endive. For this salad, I used persimmon leftovers from the dessert that I had made the day before, and started to experiment by adding different ingredients. Actually, it turned out to be a very delicious salad, with the sweetness of the persimmon complementing the neutral taste of the endive. I also tossed in a few roasted hazelnuts to strengthen its taste. And I do hope you enjoy my yellow and black composition.

Endive salad with persimmon
(Serves four)

2 endives,
2 persimmons,
1/3 cup roasted hazelnuts,
4 tbsp champagne orange vinegar or a juice from half a lemon ,
hazelnut oil,
salt and pepper to taste.

1. Cut endive and divide it among four plates.
2. Peel off the persimmons, cut them in half and slice, arrange slices on the plate with endive.
3. Spread crushed hazelnuts.
4. Sprinkle each plate with champagne vinegar or lemon if you prefer more siuer taste,and oil.
5. Salt and pepper for taste and serve immediately.