Celebration Salad of Endive, Crème Fraîche and Caviar
The best time to make this salad is around Christmas or New Year's when salmon caviar comes into season. In the weeks just before the holidays, I will make several trips to the European specialty markets in the city that carry a wide variety, looking for caviar of the best quality in terms of freshness and flavor, at the best price. You can also order high quality caviar online from purveyors such as Plaza de Caviar. Salmon caviar looks very different from the much more expensive beluga, sevruga, or osetra varieties, which are the lightly salted roe or eggs from sturgeon; salmon caviar looks like beautiful, small coral-colored pearls. You can see that this salad is pretty simple, and focuses on the best, freshest ingredients—my favorite way to cook.
Wine Suggestion: Brut champagnes or rosé
8 heads Belgian endive
1 cup crème fraîche, at room temperature
2 teaspoons lemon juice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 ounces salmon caviar
2 tablespoons very thinly sliced fresh chives as a garnish
1 bunch chervil or 1 small bunch frisée, ends trimmed as a garnish
Trim the bottom off each endive and discard. Remove any leaves that are loose and place in a bowl. Cut off approximately 1/4 inch of the end of the endive and continue to remove the whole leaves. Place in a bowl with the others. Repeat with the remaining endive.
In another bowl, stir together the crème fraîche and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper.
To serve, toss the endive with the crème fraîche mixture. Place on a platter. Spoon the caviar onto the endive. Garnish with the chives and chervil and serve immediately.