a Happy New Year
A traditional French salad for New Year’s Eve
A menu for a “réveillon” celebration (whether Christmas or New Year’s Eve) almost always includes Belgian endives on French tables. This is how we used to greet the nouvel an, new year, in Casablanca:
Mint Tea and Minarets: a banquet of Moroccan memories
. . . “As a family, we spent many a New Year’s Day at (Madame Simone’s) seamlessly orchestrated dinner parties. She was far and away the most impeccable hostess within my parents’ circle of friends. Madame Simone left no detail to chance when she entertained. That made more humiliating an incident when my slightly tipsy father shattered a few crystals in a chandelier with an errant cork he launched from a bottle of Veuve Clicquot champagne.
The food was always trois étoiles, three star, at Madame Simone’s, even to my then unsophisticated palate. But what I marveled at most was the artistry with which she blindly applied her carmine lipstick. I had plenty of opportunity to study her meticulous technique as she recoated her lips with rouge à lèvres almost as often as we changed plates during the multi-course banquet. While the adults sipped champagne and debated political issues around the starched-linen tablecloth laid with monogrammed cutlery, antique candelabras, and sparkling crystal de Bohème, my brother and I diverted ourselves with the fun-house reflections our faces made in our hostess’s polished silver goblets.
Cheeks flushed from a fingerbreadth ration of chilled Vouvray wine, we savored plump oysters abducted from their beds in the Oualidia lagoon four hours south of town. Like seasoned gastronomes, we devoured dinde aux marrons, roast turkey with chestnuts, and made piglets of ourselves with the perfectly ripened fromages, cheeses, and salade d’endives aux noix, Belgian endives with walnuts . . .”
Salade d’Endives aux Noix
(Belgian Endive Salad with Walnuts)
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
3 tablespoons walnut oil
¼ teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 teaspoons minced tarragon leaves, or 1 teaspoon dried, crushed
4 Belgian endives
¼ cup walnut pieces, toasted
¼ cup crumbled Blue cheese or Roquefort
½ cup bacon bits
Whisk mustard with vinegar until smooth. Continue to whisk while adding oil in a stream, until sauce emulsifies. Stir in salt, pepper, and tarragon. Set aside.
Wipe endives with a damp paper towel. Trim and discard ¼ inch from stumps. Cut 1½ inches from tips and set aside.
Cut what remains of endives into ½-inch-wide slices. Arrange in the center of a serving platter and surround with separated leaves from the tips. Drizzle with dressing and sprinkle with toasted walnuts, Roquefort, and bacon bits.
from Mint Tea and Minarets: a banquet of Moroccan memories. Copyright Kitty Morse 2012. All rights reserved.