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Figs and Purple Endive Salad with Currant Dressing

Grilling endive caramelizes the leaves and takes away some of its bitter edge. Sweet figs, bold blue cheese and tart currant-orange dressing complete this salad, which is delicious served with a Pinot Noir or other earthy red wine.

Ingredients:

For the currant dressing:

  • 2 Tbs. dried currants
  • 2 Tbs. fresh orange juice
  • 3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  •  
  • 2 Tbs. pine nuts (optional)
  • 1 fennel bulb, trimmed and thinly sliced lengthwise
  • 6 ripe but firm purple figs, halved
  • 2 large heads purple-tipped Belgian endive, cores intact, halved
      or quartered lengthwise
  • 1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 Tbs. crumbled blue cheese

Directions:

Prepare a medium fire in a grill.

In a microwavable bowl, combine the currants and orange juice. Cover and microwave on “high” for 1 minute.

In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, sugar, mustard, salt and a few grindings of pepper. Stir in the currant mixture. Let the dressing stand for 15 minutes.

In a small, dry fry pan over medium-low heat, toast the pine nuts, stirring, until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Pour onto a plate.

In a bowl, combine the fennel, figs, endive, olive oil and lemon juice and toss to coat evenly. Put the fennel, figs and endive in a grill basket and grill, turning often, until the vegetables are wilted and the figs are softened, about 5 minutes. Transfer to the bowl with the dressing and toss gently to mix. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Garnish with the cheese and pine nuts and serve immediately. Serves 4 to 6.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Salad of the Day, by Georgeanne Brennan (Weldon Owen, 2012).