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Grilled Asparagus and Endive with Favas, Orange and Mint

Belgian endive was first cultivated by the ancient Egyptians and today is particularly popular in Belgium and France. Part of the chicory family, endive has a crunchy texture and subtle taste. Here, it’s paired with spring vegetables and a dash of bright citrus.

Ingredients:

  • 3 lb. fava beans, outer pods removed
  • 1 lb. slender asparagus, ends trimmed
  • 2 heads Belgian endive, sliced lengthwise 1/8 inch thick
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 orange 
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves

Directions:

Bring a pot three-fourths full of salted water to a boil over high heat. Meanwhile, prepare a large bowl of ice water. Add the shucked fava beans to the boiling water and boil for 1 minute. Drain and transfer to the bowl of ice water. When the beans are cool, use your fingers to peel off the skins. Set aside.

Prepare a hot fire in a grill and oil the grill rack.

Arrange the asparagus and endive on the grill, making sure they are perpendicular to the grate bars and don’t fall through the grate. (Alternatively, use a grill screen.) Grill, turning occasionally, until they are evenly charred, 2 to 3 minutes total. Arrange on a serving platter and season well with salt and pepper.

Using a zester, zest the orange over a bowl. Peel and segment the orange, allowing the segments and any juices to fall into the bowl. Add the olive oil and, using a fork, break up the orange segments into bite-size pieces. Season with salt and pepper.

Scatter the fava beans and mint on top of the grilled vegetables. Drizzle with the orange dressing and serve immediately. Serves 4.

Variations: You can substitute English peas for the fava beans, or grilled fennel for the endive. You can also use a broiler instead of a grill to cook the vegetables; just keep a close watch to avoid overcooking them.

Serving Suggestion: This dish would make a great side for grilled fish or meat. Pair it with a crisp white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Cooking for Friends, by Alison Attenborough and Jamie Kimm (Oxmoor House, 2008).