Winter Endive Salad

Two weeks ago I was out for dinner on a Friday night with my friends from Boston, enjoying a fried fish taco and a margarita, when my body sent me a very strong message, marked urgent, respond ASAP or you’re fired: GIVE ME A FUCKING BREAK. I sat there, continuing our conversation, clutching my exploding heart like it was a Southern strand of pearls.

So now I understand why everyone over 30 is on a cleanse in January.

I’m not on a cleanse, per say, but I am giving my body a break for the time being by eating vegan at breakfast, vegetarian at lunch, drinking less (which is so fun! don’t knock it till you try it!), and having whatever I feel like for dinner. And I usually feel like pizza, but my body is gracefully accepting that in return for our breakfast and lunch compromise.

I’ll tell you about breakfast another day, but right now I can’t stop thinking about, making, or eating tahini cream for lunch. I became deeply obsessed with it because of a photo I saw on The First Mess back in November and have been making it almost every week since. If you find yourself with random handfuls of extra herbs, tahini cream is a great place to put them. For this recipe, which I made a fussy finger food version of for a party last weekend, I think it’s best to make the tahini cream a little sweet to contrast with the bitterness of the endive. If you can’t find endive, look for another bitter green such as radicchio, frisee, or young mustard greens.

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You can absolutely fill individual radicchio or endive leaves with the tahini cream, herbs and pomegranate. The easier and lazier thing to do is to spread the tahini cream across the plate and pile the rest of the ingredients, roughly chopped, on top of it. Or, you can put the tahini cream in a squeeze bottle and drizzle it over the top of the salad. Whatever you do, don’t skimp on the herbs!

Winter Endive Salad
-use about one whole endive and at least 1/4 cup tahini cream per person

For the tahini cream:
1/2 cup tahini
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 of a small to medium shallot, roughly chopped
filtered water
a couple Tablespoons honey
salt to taste
4-5 scallions, green and light green parts only

For the salad:
endive
plenty of parsley leaves (do not chop)
plenty of mint leaves (also do not chop!)
toasted sesame oil
pomegranate arils
flaky salt

Place the tahini, lemon juice and shallot in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Stream in water until it has like a…natural peanut butter at room temperature consistency? Somewhere in the ballpark of 1/3 a cup. You want it to be smooth and creamy, but thick enough to stay in place on a plate. Add salt and honey to taste, then pulse in the scallions until they’re very finely chopped. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 10 days.

To make the salad: roughly chop the endive, then toss it with the herbs and just enough sesame oil to coat it. Place it on top of the tahini cream and top with pomegranate arils and flaky salt.