This chicory-apple salad is a tasty and fresh starter. Typical for autumn and maybe your choice as an appetizer for an end-of-year menu? But you can also have it as a tasty and healthy lunch with a piece of bread. That might be an idea for the leftovers and the next day? But let’s start with the basic recipe first. You can read more details and possible variants further on in the article.
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Chicory is a typical autumn vegetable. But meanwhile it is available all year round these days. The difference is that the latter is cultivated on hydroponics. You only get ground chicory in the season, autumn. But unfortunately this cultivation method is kind of dying out. It’s hard manual labor. So you find difficult people and it is more expensive. The Flemish television recently reported on the decreasing number of people cultivating chicory with the ground method (Dutch). Maybe it inspires some people to get into this business?
How do you wash and cut the best chicory?
Well, washing is in any case easy, especially with hydroponics: just hold it upside down under the tap. There are different methods for cutting. I always halve them lengthwise and then cut away the harder bottom part. Then I cut them in half again lengthwise and then cut (half) rings. Some good instructional videos can be found here:
- How to Cut Endive : Delectable Dishes
- How to cut endive – Monkeysee
- Knife skills: how to prepare an endive – Serious eats
- Using Belgian endive – Anna Variano
The history of Belgian endives
A word about the history of chicory. It is also called the white gold of Belgium, endives or Belgian endives. Like many great inventions, this one is also a fluke. Sometime in the 1830s, a farmer near Brussels had dried chicory roots in his cellar to make (surrogate) coffee. After a few months there were white leaves on those roots. They had a slightly bitter taste. This is how the method was created to let chicory roots sprout again into chicory stumps in a dark room.
Chicory, or endives are one of the favorite vegetables of all our family members. My father used to grow them in the cellar. So don’t be surprised to find a lot of chicory recipes here. You might also be interested in these creations:
- oven dish with chicory and leek
- Chicory salad with autumn fruits
- Salad of chicory and roasted figs
- Chicory leaves with apple, egg and smoked halibut
- Filled Belgian endives in prosciutto
- Belgian endives and arugula with blood sausage
- Belgian endives with meatballs
Which apple is best to use for this chicory-apple salad?
In the supermarket or fruit shop you will find a whole range of different apple varieties. But which one is best for this dish? I always go here for a sweeter apple. It provides the best contrast against the bitterness of the chicory and the acidity of the lemon. The Pink Lady is one of my favorites in that regard. Elstar and Jonagold certainly also go very well with this chicory-apple salad. As a rule of thumb, you can assume that red apples are generally sweeter. Greens are more acidic.
Would you like to learn more about the different types of apples and their characteristics? Be sure to take a look at the articles below:
- 25 types of apples – Jessica Gavin, culinary scientist
- Apple varieties – which apple to pick and why! – Pickyourown
- 24 types of apples and what you can do with them – Onlyfoods
How do you cut an apple into fine cubes?
Apples are round, have a skin and a core. All obstacles if you want to cut nice small cubes. There are different methods, and ultimately the result takes precedence. But here you can read how I do it.
I peel the apple first and then cut it into quarters. Then I remove the core in each of those quarters. Then I only have the part left that I want to use. I then place each wedge on the flat side for stability. I then cut them vertically into strips but not completely. That way the quarter stays together. Then I put them on the other flat side and do the same there. Finally I cut them in the other direction and then have nice little cubes.
You may also have a look at these instructional videos:
I love to use apples in different kinds of recipes. Their sweet and sour taste matches perfectly in a lot of dishes. Find some more inspiration here:
- apple potato salad
- Smoked salmon blinis with an apple cream topping
- Chicory leaves with apple, egg and halibut
- Easy apple cake
- Waldorf towers
- Chicory salad with autumn fruits
Which cheese do you use for this chicory-apple salad?
There are more types of cheese than apples. So here again the question is: what should we take now? And just like with the apples, your own taste is important here too. Listen to your own taste! I do like older or mature cheese, because the taste is much more intense. But if you’re not into that, you might as well take young cheese. A hard cheese goes best with this starter. You also run into practical problems with soft cheeses: you can’t cut them very well (or not at all) into cubes.
Can you serve this chicory-apple salad also as a lunch or side dish?
As mentioned in the beginning of the article, this recipe was designed as an appetizer. But you can also have it as a lunch or a side dish. Most of the time we have it as a lunch on the next day, with some rye bread or a baguette. Not because people didn’t like it, on the contrary. But every family cook is always afraid “that there won’t be enough to eat”. Resulting in huge leftovers which then make up the menu for the next days.
You can also serve this salad (without the smoked salmon) as a side dish. And it goes perfectly well with fish, like for example grilled salmon, tuna fish or monkfish. Give it a try and you will be surprised!
Don’t buy mayonnaise in the supermarket. It is so easy to make! And you can spice it up to your own taste. Be sure to check out the following recipe: Mahonnaise – the origin of mayonnaise. And at the same time, you will learn where this delicious white sauce comes from.
If you speak Dutch, you can find the Dutch version of this recipe on gerechtenweb.blog.