Thursday, February 16, 2012

RPI: Mission Endive

Haydn's full of crap. I won this addition of RPI fair and square! He tried to accuse me of cheating earlier in the week but he was dead wrong.

See, these past 2 weeks have been horrendously busy for both of us. School is kicking our asses. So when we were unable to get together to hash out a good 'ole game of rock, paper, scissors (which is how we decide who gets to choose the feature ingredient for RPI), we chose to do it over the phone. That. Was. A. Process.

As Haydn mentioned in this first post of RPI, decide your rules for rock, paper, scissors in advance. You never know when lack of visual cues may spur a heated but loving debate over when the final throwdown should occur.

Moreover, how can you tell if the person is cheating or not?? There's no visual evidence to suggest what they say over the phone is what they've actually drawn or not drawn. Not that I thought anyone would cheat. But Haydn did by assuming he couldn't trust me over the phone. You know Haydn, cheaters are always the first to accuse...

When I justly won - which by the way, I revealed my hand movement before Haydn revealed his so if anyone was going to cheat it was going to be him - I selected, endive. 

What exactly is endive you ask? Endive is a bitter lettuce green. It comes in various shapes and sizes, some of which include Belgian endive, radicchio, frisee (if anyone knows where in town I might find some of this illusive and delicious green, please let me know) and escarole.

I came up with this recipe after having a discussion with Haydn about the redundancy of Belgian endive. Everyone stuffs them and uses them like cups or sticks em in a salad. I get it, it's been done. But the reason it's been done is because the flavours are so magical. Big bold cheeses, nuts, fruit, etc... So what did I do? I took those flavours and stuck em in cheesy carbohydrated goodness. Oh yeah.

I'll be honest here, and I know food bloggers say this shit all the time but seriously: one of the best things i've ever made. Hands down. No question. Period - and I mean that full stop. It's a bit of a long recipe but if you make the risotto a day ahead of time, it's a cinch to pull together.

My advice to you? Make this. Or don't - and instead, hire me to cater your next dinner party, luncheon, or brunch-fest.

Endive "Cup" Risotto Balls with "Cup" Salad
(printable recipe)

Ingredients for Your Balls (hehe):

2 Shallots, thinly sliced.
2 Garlic Cloves, thinly sliced.
2 Tbsp Butter, unsalted.
1.5 Cups Arborio Rice.
3/4 Cup Dry White Wine.
5-6 Cups Chicken or Veggie Stock, heated.
Kosher Salt and Fresh Cracked Black Pepper.
  Approx 1 Cup Asiago or Parmesan or Grana Padano Cheese, grated + 4 Tbsp, grated.
Small Handful Dried Cranberries.
Small Handful Toasted Walnuts, roughly chopped.
Small Handful Gorgonzola, crumbled.
1 Belgian Endive, cut in half and sliced.
1/2 Lb. Bacon, cooked, drained & roughly chopped.
1 C White All-Purpose Flour.
4 Eggs, gently beaten.
2 C Panko Crumbs.
Canola or Peanut Oil for frying.

Ingredients for the Salad + Dressing:

1 Belgian Endive, cut in half and sliced.
1 Head Radicchio, leaves separated.
1 D'Anjou Pear, cored & diced.
3-4 Slices of Bacon, cooked, drained & roughly chopped.
1 Handful Toasted Walnuts, roughly chopped.
1 Small Handful Dried Cranberries.
Handful of Gorgonzola.
1 C Creme Fraiche.
Juice of Half a Lemon.
Fresh Cracked Black Pepper.

What to Do:

On a low heat, melt butter in large pan and add shallots and garlic, covering with lid. Allow 5-10 mins to become translucent.

Add rice, stirring until grains become slightly clear and golden on the outside, approximately 2 mins.

Pour in the wine and allow the alcohol to evaporate - this should take about a minute or so.

Next ladle in enough stock to just cover the rice mixture and allow for a low simmer, stirring fairly regularly to avoid burning. Continue adding further ladles of broth as it gets absorbed, again only as much as is needed to cover the rice.

This will continue for roughly 30mins, or until rice mixture is creamy and has reached the desired texture. You want it to be soft but still hold it's texture and not be mushy.

At this point, remove from heat and fold the cup of grated cheese into the finished dish along with the dried cranberries, walnuts, endive, gorgonzola, and bacon. 

Eat some of it tonight if you like but save at least half and refrigerate until cold (i.e. a couple hours or over night). If you don't eat any of the risotto you should end up with approx 18-20 balls. Haha....

Once cold, remove from the fridge and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 

Gather a palmful of the mixture. Shape into 2" wide balls. Gently push the center of the ball toward the center of your hand, creating a little divot in the middle. Place a small cube of gorgonzola in there and cover with the surrounding rice to reshape the ball. Set on the parchment paper. Continue until you have enough balls (that's what she said!) or run out of risotto. Cover and place back in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

In 3 separate bowls, place the flour, the whisked eggs, and the panko crumbs + a little salt, mix. 

As you dredge, you'll want to heat your oil. So in a large wok filled to no more than 1/2 - 2/3rds full of oil, heat over medium heat. The oil will be ready when a piece of white bread is dropped into the oil and browns in 30 seconds. If it browns too quickly, turn down your heat. If not quickly enough, wait longer. BE VERY CAREFUL when deep frying! DO NOT BURN YOURSELF or START THE HOUSE ON FIRE! A good site that tells you how to deep fry safely can be found here.

Pre-heat your oven to 200 degrees F.

As the oil heats, remove your balls from the fridge (hehe) and dredge each one in the flour, then the eggs, then the panko/salt mixture. Place back on the parchment. Once oil is hot, gently and carefully, using a slotted spoon, place your balls (about 5-6 at a time) in the oil. After a minute or so, gently turn them so as to ensure even browning. When golden and crisp, remove from the oil onto some paper towels to drain and place in a pan and put in the oven to keep warm.

Once finished, turn off the oil, remove it from the element and serve your delicious balls (tehe) with a little grated cheese on top and a side of the following:

It's time to make your salad! Toss all the ingredients into a bowl save for the creme fraiche, gorgonzola and lemon juice. 

In a small sauce pan, gently melt the cheese and soften the gorgonzola over medium-low heat. Once combined, remove from the heat and add the lemon juice. Throw it all in the bowl with the fruit/veg/nut mixture, stir well, and spoon into the radicchio leaves.

Serve on the side of your balls (last time...hahaha) and...



This post is linked up with The Hearth & Soul Blog Hop via The 21st Century Housewife; Tasty Tuesday; Slightly Indulgent Tuesday; Tuesday Talent Show; This Chick Cooks; Cast Party Wednesday; Simple Lives Thursday; Full Plate Thursday; Tastetastic Thursday; Fresh Bites Friday; Fight Back Friday; Seasonal Inspiration Saturday


  1. I often have trouble finding frisee too - it can be very elusive, but every once in a while I get lucky. Oddly enough, it is generally in bagged salads, which I general avoid, but I love frisee for salad aux lardons so I'm prepared to compromise. Your risotto balls look positively addictive, and I really like the look of those wonderful endive cups with their lovely salad. I can imagine they would just disappear at a brunch, or even a cocktail party, and I look forward to trying them.

    1. I don't know what it is about frisee! It's a gourmet ingredient and like you said, it shows up in those crappy salad mixes. I'll tell you a secret: There's a bulk salad mix at an upscale grocery store here. Sometimes I'll pick through it and take all the frisee.

  2. Glad I am not the only one that snickered at "ingredients for your balls." That would have been embarrassing! Your balls (heh) and salad look fantastic, may have to give this a go the next round of endive, etc. I get from my CSA.

    1. I'll make sure to tell my boyfriend you liked my balls. He'll appreciate that ;) Thanks for stopping by!


  3. Kristy,
    I don't know about the two of you and who is winning, but clearly this Mission Endive is a winner with me. I could sit down and gobble this meal, I would just love it. Great presentation you always leave me with a smile on my face!! Thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday and have a great week end!
    Come Back Soon,
    Miz Helen