Monday, December 20, 2010

Day Three Hundred and Fourteen : Endive Marriage Mondays

Endive in its most well known form, Belgian Endive, is one of those greens you either love or hate. It is part of the chicory family that also includes other bitter greens such as radicchio. However endive itself is the umbrella term for a few different types -- curly endive otherwise known as frisee lettuce and broad leaved endive otherwise known as escarole which is the least bitter of the endive family. All are high in vitamins and nutrients especially folate and vitamins A and K.

In season at this time of year (late fall / early winter), I thought Belgian endive would be the perfect Marriage Mondays contestant this week. Bitter, crisp, bright, and fresh, one tends to find endive utilized as an instrument for dips or chopped up in salads. But what cheese works best with this bitter contender?!

Contestant Number # 1 : Ossau-Iraty Vielle - The classic unpasteurized sheep's milk cheese hailing from the Pyrenees in southwestern France is semi-firm and traditionally aged for about ten months, give or take. The older / more aged version is up for competition this week -- full of rich buttery unctuous notes with that classic crystallization crunch and hints of nutty butterscotch-ness. Does this crowd-pleaser of a cheese have what it takes to take the bitterness of our endive down a notch?

Contestant Number # 2 : Cambozola - What happens when you mix a French triple cream like a Brie and the spicy piquant Italian Gorgonzola? Well you get cambozola of course! It's got that rich coat the roof of your mouth sort of feel of a Brie with that nice spicy wake up of your senses of a Gorgonzola. Will this successful flavor marriage be as much as a success with our endive?

Contestant Number # 3 : Morbier - A washed rind stinker with an ash line dividing the cheese in two named after the town in France where it was first crafted. Originally it was one layer of morning milk and one of evening milk separated by the ashen layer which was said to preserve the evening milk before the morning milk was added. Nowadays it is crafted with the same milk and keeps its vegetable ash dividing line for tradition. Semi-soft and a great melting cheese, it is sufficiently stinky in that washed rind sort of feel but with a nice nuttiness and a fantastically round mouth feel. Will our stinker win out this week?

I apologize that there are no images in today's post, something seems to be wrong with the uploading server, all of today's images will appear in tomorrow's blog.

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