I knew I had to include this endive-avocado salad as part of a Mother’s Day brunch, as it is my own mother’s favorite salad (hi, Mom!). I tell people often — on my blog, in my book — that I have a long and complicated relationship with salad. My mother insisted on it every single night (no matter what) growing up. That meant that ages 4 to 12 I came up with many, many creative ways to dispose of it that did not include consumption. Only once I actually started tasting the salad did I realize that I liked it and slowly started to build a relationship with greens. Now I would say that salads make up a serious percentage of what I eat, and I am constantly thinking about new ways to dress them up and make them new all over again.
In the spirit of exciting salads, I admit I sort of have a tendency towards excess. For me the saying goes, “more is better” — not “less is more.” Case in point: I plant 12 kinds of lettuce in my garden instead of three, and carry eight tubes of lipstick in my purse. And every time I make a recipe, I usually just keep on adding.
With salads I am especially prone to doing so. You know, I have to make sure it’s not boring! So interestingly, this recipe was an unexpected exercise in restraint. My mom was the one who said “stop here!” — and as a grown-up, you realize that when your mom says stop, you should probably listen and actually stop.
While there are very few ingredients, the flavor profiles of the ingredients that are present are big. The endive is crisp, delicate, slightly sweet, bitter, and totally refreshing. Then you have that rich, buttery avocado. With just a sprinkle of kosher salt it really sings. The dressing is lemony and fresh, and the chives are generous and mildly oniony.
And that's it! The simplicity and harmony of flavors and textures make this salad the perfect accompaniment to the other dishes at brunch (or at any meal, for that matter).
For the salad:
4 heads Belgian endive
2 medium avocados
For the vinaigrette:
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (from about 2 lemons)
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons honey
1/3 cup 1-inch pieces fresh chives
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
For the salad: Separate the endives into individual leaves and place them in a large bowl.
Pit and peel the avocados. Cut each lengthwise into 8 pieces. Set the avocado slices on a plate and sprinkle with salt; set aside.
For the vinaigrette: Whisk all the ingredients together in a small bowl.
Drizzle some of the vinaigrette over the endive and toss gently to coat. Transfer to a serving platter and add the avocado slices. Drizzle with more vinaigrette as desired and serve immediately.
Reprinted with permission from Pure Delicious by Heather Christo, copyright (c) 2016 by arrangement with Pam Krauss Books and Avery Books, members of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, A Penguin Random House Company.