This Beet Endive Salad and Fig Dressing was my offering in The Great American Recipe Finale on PBS. Who doesn’t love 5-star cooking at home!
The Season Of Beets And Figs
Figs laying heavily on the branches of my fig trees, all waiting to become the stars in a television cooking program!
Seasonal produce inspires more newly created recipes, for me, than just about anything else inspires my cooking.
Beetroot Endive Salad For A Cooking Competition
It’s the finales in a television cooking competition. If I was to make it to the finales, I wanted to showcase various aspects of figs and call it my Fig Finale.
On a very complex main course of Fish Roasted Inside of a Fig Leaf, I wanted to showcase a dark and earthy seasonal beet salad alongside of the fish.
Creating a beet salad, tossed in a chili spiced fig dressing, came to mind first.
Then, I decided to serve it inside of an endive leaf, to kick it up a notch for an already whimsical, main course to wow the judges.
What Is Endive?
Endive leaves are perfectly shaped to scoop into dips or place something inside of. The leaves are firm and hold their shape.
The Mediterranean plant is slightly bitter yet earthy. Not like a sweet, gentle tasting bib lettuce.
Radicchio, escarole, frisee and endive each are from the same family and have similar flavors to each other.
While some recipes call for blanching the already tiny leaf, I prefer to maintain their shape and serve them uncooked.
Sweet Or Savory Fig Dressing
Once figs become ripe they are so sweet and juicy.
A favorite flavor combination of mine, is to blend sweet with both heat and bitter, tart or salty.
Fig dressing for this salad, is all of the umami flavors above.
Fresh figs, quickly simmered with onions, balsamic, a hot little chili and a sprinkle of sugar make for a dress that is everything I wanted with these beets.
In the Autumn, I make large batches of both sweet and savory fig jam, store in individual zip plastic bags in the freezer to use all year.
How To Make Beet Endive Salad With Fig Dressing
Roasting the beets in their skin, wrapped in parchment paper or foil, is the first step to this salad.
This can be done a day in advance or just before assembling the salad.
The roasted beets get minced into tiny slices I like to call a confetti cut.
A tender stalk of celery heart adds freshness to the earthy beets and a little crunch.
The figs are also cooked but only need a brief simmer along with vinegar, sugar, onions and the chili pepper.
Simmered figs are then pureed and mixed with the minced beets and celery.
Beet salad is now dressed and ready for serving inside the endive leaves or refrigerated for a little later.
Beets In My Garden Beets In My Kitchen
When you are able to see the fruits of long months of labor, growing something as delicious as beets, you are sure to create lots of recipes with them.
Before I ever tried my hand at growing beets, I would wait all summer to find beets popping up at local farmers markets, and buy as many as I could cook before they went bad.
For more of my favorite, and soon to be your favorite, beet recipes, I’ve got them right here for you!
- Spicy Beetroot Chili Ketchup – oh yes, this ketchup is way better than sugary tomato ketchup and is laced with chili peppers.
- Beetroot Ice Cream – sweet, earthy, creamy and gorgeous in color.
- Beetroot Hummus – everything you love about traditional hummus with more pizazz!
- Beetroot and Avocado Deviled Eggs – beetroot hummus and avocado tahini adorn a deviled egg, making it look more spectacular.
- Beetroot and Spinach Braided Yeast Bread – the spinach dough has all the flavor of spanakopita and the beetroot dough is salty and garlicky and the two are beautifully braided together for a spectacular holiday bread.
- Small sauce pan
- Baking tray
- Parchment paper or foil to roast the beets
- Vegetable peeler
- Cutting board
- Chopping knife
- Small mixing bowl
- Small spoon
- Measuring spoons
- Measuring cup
- Stovetop or burner and Oven
- Celery heart
- Red onion
- Chili pepper
- Balsamic vinegar
- Olive oil
- Mascarpone – optional
Beet Endive Salad and Fig Dressing
- Roasting Pan
- Small saucepan
- 1 cup Beetroots
- 1/4 cup Celery heart
- 1 tbsp Red onion finely minced
- 1 small Chili pepper minced
- 4 tsp Balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp Sugar
- 1 tbs[ Olive oil
- 4 Fresh Figs
- Salt to taste
- 12 Endive leaves
- 2 tbsp Mascarpone optional
- Preheat oven to 400
- Wrap the beets in parchment paper or foil and roast until tender, depending on their size, about 30 minutes. Cool inside the wrapping. Peel.
- Beets get cut into confetti size pieces, about 1/4 inch pieces. Do the same with the celery. Set aside.
- In a small saucepan, place diced figs, sugar, vinegar, diced chili pepper, diced onion and salt. Simmer on low until the figs and onions soften, about 5 minutes. Drizzle in the olive oil and puree. Fold the fig dressing into the chopped beets and celery.
- Separate the endive leaves. With a small spoon, place a dollop of the beet salad in each leaf. If using mascarpone, place a tiny drop of mascarpone on the tops. Serve.