Endives are one of winter and spring’s most nutritious veggie families. Loved for their slightly bitter flavor they include translucent pale green and white Belgian endive, the red endives round radicchio and long Treviso,... and lastly the more open curly endive and the wild mop that is frisee.
Although in the US they are mostly used in salads, in Europe the more compact endives like Belgian, radicchio and Treviso are often cooked by either braising or on the grill. My fast favorite is to use the grill, which in winter means a stovetop cast iron griddle. This easy recipe uses either white Belgian Endive or one of the red endives. Treviso is particularly good. Aged balsamic vinegar adds a delicious sweet twist.
Heat the griddle over a medium high flame. Take 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and lightly brush the endive and the hot griddle with it. Set the endive quarters cut sides down onto the hot griddle. Cook until they are browned, about 4 minutes. Turn. Continue until all 3 sides are lightly browned and the endive has softened.
Meanwhile over a medium high flame, dry toast the pine nuts in a small pan, shaking the pan as you cook. As soon as they start to color, (2-4 minutes) tip them into a bowl and set aside. Drain the currants discarding the soak water. Set aside.
Set the cooked endive onto a warm plate. Drizzle with the aged balsamic vinegar and any remaining extra virgin olive oil. Sprinkle all over with the pine nuts and the drained currants. Serve while still warm.
The balsamic for the dressing is best if thick and aged, or a reduction called Saba.