Warm Stuffed Endive Salad; no purple potatoes for me!

I've never seen a purple potato.

Limes, along with pineapple, sweet potatoes, ginger and mangoes are in the 'exotic' section of my supermarket – if anywhere.

I have searched in vain to find such outlandish items as frozen fruit – like berries, or, heaven forbid, frozen orange juice.

Every spring there are boxes of dirt sitting on the floor in the produce section, though, used to transport from the coast, and keep fresh, wonderful, tiny new potatoes – both delicious and expensive.

And in mid-summer you can find the dirtiest carrots imaginable, to prove they are just pulled and sent down from the carrot beds near Nantes – both delicious and expensive.

I'm not sure why the French, at least, where I live, aren't interested in the newest craze.  I've been hearing about an herb called 'sumac' – I doubt I'll see it any time soon here. 

Some of those 'new' things never do catch on.

If I want sweet corn or rainbow chard I have to have someone from the US send me the seeds so I can plant my own. 

It's only been 2 years that one can find butternut squash for sale in the fall – just a few though.  I have those seeds sent as well.

It seems that the French, and other Europeans, are far more concerned about getting the very best and the very freshest of local food, rather than trying the exotic.

I made baked beans for a picnic once…. Everyone was fascinated by this typical American food.  One or two people actually had a teeny tiny taste.

The locals just don't seem interested in trying the new.

There are plenty of new things for me to try, however. 

When I lived in the US I'd never heard of sunchokes (Jerusalem artichokes), leeks were something I added to soup and endive was occasionally found next to the carrots and celery on a 'Veggie and Dip' platter.

All three are plentiful and widely used here – braised as first courses or vegetables, baked in gratins, or steamed with a cheese or hollandaise sauce.

I may not ever get a purple potato, but those little new potatoes, packed in their own, moist dirt to prove freshness, are a taste of foodie heaven not found elsewhere.

While I wait for their season, here's a last bit of the winter.

The endive is braised until tender, then the stem end hollowed. Fill it
with creamy eggs and finish with a lemony mayonnaise for a late winter
warm salad.

Warm Stuffed Endive Salad

Warm Stuffed Endive Salad

2 Belgian endive
3 tsp olive oil
1 cup chicken stock
2 eggs
2oz (60gr) ham or bacon
1 tbs dried chives
1 tbs Greek or plain yogurt
Lemon Mayonnaise
3 tbs mayonnaise
1 tbs lemon juice
1 tsp dried chives
1/4 tsp garlic powder

The endive: Rinse endive and remove 2 or 3 outer leaves as needed. Trim the stem end. Cut each endive in half the long way through the stem. Heat 2 tsp oil over medium heat in a nonstick skillet large enough to hold the endive flat, in one layer. Add endive, cut side down, and sauté until starting to brown, about 5 minutes. Turn and sauté the other side. Add chicken stock, cover and simmer until the stem end is tender when pierced with a sharp knife, about 10 minutes longer. Remove endive to a plate, cut side up. Reserve stock for another use.
With a sharp knife cut a long, shallow, v-shaped wedge from the stem end to about halfway to the tip. Discard cuttings. Set endive aside.


The Eggs: Lightly whisk eggs, chives and yogurt. Heat 1 tsp oil in skillet. Add ham or bacon and sauté until lightly browned (if using bacon, until crisp. Drain excess fat). Reduce heat to low and add eggs. Stir once or twice, remove from heat and allow them to finish cooking off heat, stirring occasionally. They should be very moist when done.
The Mayo: Mix all ingredients for mayonnaise, set aside until needed.

The finish: Arrange the endive on 2 plates. Divide the eggs and spoon onto the hollowed end of the endive, mounding high. Spoon Lemon Mayonnaise on the side and serve.

When I was out with the dogs today, it was as if spring had exploded overnight.  Fruit trees, that were  bare yesterday, were blooming, the forsythia had tiny bits of yellow and gold showing, the lilacs had green shoots…

You know what that means: green garlic, favas, artichokes, asparagus, and, yes, those lovely new potatoes.

I'm so excited!

13 thoughts on “Warm Stuffed Endive Salad; no purple potatoes for me!”

  1. I’ve had Belgian Endive on our grocery list for over a year now. And yet I still haven’t remembered to even look for it to see if it’s available (I suspect it is.) My reason? I want to try Laura Calder’s beet, goat cheese walnut, Belgian endive salad. And now I have another reason to look for endive….
    Sumac is only new to us. I think it has been used for centuries in the Middle East. I can’t imagine why we’re not all using it all the time. I love its lemony flavour.
    In re: baked beans. Don’t the locals ever eat cassoulet? Or is that ONLY eaten in cassoulet country?
    Isn’t it bizarre that Jerusalem artichoke is something new to us? It’s indigenous to North America! According to Wikipedia (if it can be trusted) Jerusalem artichoke is native to the eastern United States, from Maine west to North Dakota, and south to northern Florida and Texas. I know it grows here in Ontario as well. (I tried it for the first time a couple of years ago.)

  2. What an interesting observation that the French are not interested in trying new things. I wouldn’t have guessed that, since they are adventurous enough to enjoy snails and frogs’ legs. But, perhaps they are suspicious of American food, which can’t possibly be as good as French, right? 🙂

  3. Isn’t it strange how certain words (ie type of foods) all of a sudden pop up everywhere? Discussed Jerusalem artichokes with the husband yesterday, read about them on Tartelettes blog and now you mention them here. Never knew Jerusalem artichokes in US = topinambour in French = aardpeer in Dutch. It’s one of our -as we call it here- “forgotten vegetables”, they are getting more and more attention again here.
    I always smile when you address the US-Euro differences because it’s so familiar. Yes we eat Belgian endive regularly, leek is a staple veggie as well but I’ve never had topinambour.

  4. Elizabeth, I thought it very strange that the sunchokes are so popular here but not in their native land… As to the beans, of course they eat cassoulet – in Toulouse. My region was the Vendee and they eat the, much loved, mogette, which is white beans cooked with a bit of ham and carrot.
    Now, Boston Baked Beans are different from either of those: I used smaller beans for one thing…. and the flavorings were different (otherwise it would have been cassoulet or mogette made with small beans) Thus the problem… The big bowl of mogette was scarfed down immediately, but, my strange American dish was only sniffed at.
    Zoomie, yes, but they’ve been eating frog legs and snails for centuries, you see. Those foods only seem strange to us.
    Baking Soda, I’d never heard of sumac until recently, now it seems that everyone in the world can’t live without it. And I’m still thinking of the rash I got from poison sumac as a child ;-))

  5. Purple Potatoes. Look out for Vitelotte Noir in the supermarkets. They don’t grow a lot but they’re a very old (heirloom) variety that is popular over xmas and holidays. You can even buy crisps made from them in my local SuperU.
    And you can also buy exotic seeds locally, try

    who have a marvellous range.

  6. I guess we all wanted the Spring to come so bad this year! I have tried purple potatoes but they are hard to find (I have to go to Boqueria) and I rather have monalisas or quenebeck 😀
    I’m European and like to taste new things and new products, but I love cooking our seasonal ones. However, I guess we, Mediterraneas, are really lucky with the all year round produce.

  7. I think the sumac used in cooking is the staghorn sumac, with the maroon fuzzy fruits at the ends of the branches. Sour taste, like lemon. It was a good source of Vitamin C for Native Americans before the “Limeys” arrived. I’ve made a sort of tea with it that’s good, if a little unfamiliar on the palate.

  8. Sometimes those new things are just a little strange! I have seen purple potatoes in the store but, have never tried them. This looks delicious!!! So funny with the baked beans; I can’t imagine a picnic without them!

  9. Catofstripes, I actually saw the Vitelotte Noir in the big Carrefour in Brodeaux yesterday…. But, living out in the country, amongst the farmers, as we do, I’ve never seen them in our LeClerc or Intermarche…. And many thanks for the seed catalogue link. It’s great!
    Nuria, I think people living in cities are more open to exploring new things… Our neighbor in the Vendee didn’t even want to try wine from Bordeaux (too far away and unfamiliar – LOL) As to you Boqueria… I love that market…. Sigh…. I think it’s the best I’ve seen anywhere in Europe!
    Zoomie, one can eat that????? Hmmmm…. I have a big sumac in my front garden,Have to do some research.
    Pam, Fortunately, they freeze well, and we had them all summer long… LOL

  10. We were amazed when one of our Parisian friends absolutely refused to try corn-on-the-cob when he was visiting during corn season. His reason? He won’t eat food that horses eat. We kept assuring him that the corn we had bought was NOT corn grown for livestock but he still wouldn’t try it. And this is a man who routinely eats calves’ toenails, brains, snails, frogs’ legs, etc. etc.
    (Silly us, we didn’t think of trying to trick him into eating some polenta and then mocking him mercilessly for eating ground-up horse food.)
    According to Gernot Katzer, staghorn sumac is not the kind that is generally used for the spice.
    In North America, apparently Rhus glabra and Rhus aromatica can be eaten. In other parts of the world Rhus coriaria is the one that is generally available.

    (I have not yet tried purple potatoes. Whenever I’ve seen them, they’ve been ridiculously expensive.)

  11. Oops!! I meant to address the bean thing too… (no mind, I have no mind) Goodness how pathetic to be so afraid of something different.
    I ran into something similar when I served srikund (the most amazing Indian-style dessert) at a potluck here in Ontario. People looked at it suspiciously and asked what was in it. “yoghurt, sugar, saffron, cardamom – it’s like a very creamy cheesecake” What could be more innocuous?! And the general response? “Ewwwww. I don’t like yoghurt.” or “Indian food is too hot for me”. (!!)

  12. Elizabeth, it really is amazing the things they will eat – and the things they won’t. I remember a friend complaining about all the songbirds going missing from her garden. When I asked what happened she just said: Oh, the French eat everything.
    Not like yogurt? I’m going to have to get another fridge just to keep our weekly ration…. That dessert sounds fantastic – cardamom, saffron…. You don’t think it would be too hot for me do you? The sugar probably put it over the top… ;-))
    Thanks for the link

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