Fennel, Radicchio and Endive Salad

Shaved fennel with Parmesan is one of my favorite combinations. Hank takes it up a notch with the addition of radicchio and endive. Enjoy! ~Elise

This is one of my favorite salads. It’s pretty to look at, crunchy and has a sweet-sour-bitter thing going on that I really enjoy. Radicchio, which looks like a little head of red cabbage, and Belgian endive, which is a pale white-yellow thing that looks like a spear point, are both chicories, which means they are ever-so-slightly bitter. The fennel, shaved thin, balances that with its anise sweetness. A mustard-based vinaigrette rounds the whole thing out. It is a bracing accompaniment to rich meats and stews.

I first had a version of this salad at an Italian restaurant called La Grotta in Richmond, Virginia. The chef there served this salad with thickly shaved pieces of parmesan cheese, but I prefer the cheese grated through a coarse grater, which allows the cheese to integrate better with the rest of the salad.

While radicchio and endive may sound like esoteric vegetables, I’ve seen them in supermarkets all over the country; they will usually be around where the market keeps its fresh herbs.

If you have leftover salad, this will keep, covered, in the fridge for 3-4 days.

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Fennel, Radicchio and Endive Salad Recipe

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6-8.

While I provide a salad dressing for this recipe that works really well, you can use any high-quality Italian dressing here.

Ingredients

Salad

  • 1 head radicchio
  • 2-3 Belgian endives
  • 1 large fennel bulb
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese, coarsely grated

Dressing

  • 3 Tbsp fennel fronds, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard
  • 2-3 teaspoons shallot or onion, minced
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/3 cup olive oil

Method

1 Slice the head of radicchio in half, then in quarters. Take each quarter and cut slices of about 1/2 inch thick crosswise on the radicchio from the end toward the core. Discard the cores. Cut the Belgian endives into 1/2-inch thick slices, also discarding the hard inner cores. Cut the stems and fronds off the fennel and set aside. Slice the fennel bulb in half and then in quarters. Cut thin slices from each quarter toward the core. Cut out and discard the core. Toss all the cut vegetables in a large bowl with the grated parmesan.

2 To make the vinaigrette, chop the fennel fronds you cut off the bulb and put 3 tablespoons worth into the bowl of a blender. Add the mustard, shallot or onion, lemon juice, salt and sugar. Pulse to combine. Scrape down the sides of the blender bowl and put the lid back on without the center stopper. Cover the stopper with your hand as you start the blender again. Drizzle in the olive oil and puree the dressing for 30-45 seconds. Pour over the vegetables and toss to combine.

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Links:

Endive and Celery Salad with Fennel Vinaigrette - from Smitten Kitchen
Endive and Radicchio Salad with Parmesan Dressing - from White on Rice Couple
Arugula Endive Salad with Pine Nuts - from There's Always Thyme to Cook

fennel-endive-radicchio-salad-b.jpg

4 Comments

  1. caroline

    The fennel and parmesean can be a disappointment if you end up with a not-very-flavorful bulb of fennel. I can see how adding bitter chicories would prevent the possibility of a boring salad.

  2. CJ McD

    Oh, this is one of my favorite types of salads. I make something almost exactly like this, but split the radicchio, endives and fennel, then drizzle the cut surfaces with S&P and place them on a hot grill pan for a couple of minutes. Then I let them cool slightly, core and cut them up. If I’m lazy, I use honey mustard and omit the sugar in the dressing. The vegeatbles are both cool and warm with the parmesan shavings sort of melting or softening onto them. Heaven.

  3. Sun Jae

    Hey, an ingredient that comes from my country ^_^ Did you know that what you call “Belgian endive” is called in Belgium “chicon” (pronounced something like “shic – on”) in French or “witloof” in Flemish. Endive is what that veggie is called in France, but the real name for it is chicon as it is a from Belgium. At least for Belgian people :p Endive in Belgium is another type of veggie, a leafy green that we eat warm with cream, a bit like spinach (I can’t find any picture of it ’cause it sends me back to the chicon, and it’s freaking me out!!). That’s for the story ;)

  4. Carl

    This was wonderful and we did have it with your steak Diane; thank you Elise. It pairs quite will with rose champagne.

    @Sun Jae- we hebben witloaf en Holland ook!

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