It’s fun to see people’s reactions to this dish. At first glance, it looks like just a pile of endive leaves. But I think there’s something really beautiful about it. The way to start is by eating a few of the top leaves, little endive cups holding orange juice and oil, and then begin filling the rest of them with the absurdly delicious crouton-and-cheese mixture hidden below, sort of like making your own taco.
1 1/2 cups
(50 g) ½-inch cubes of day-old sourdough (you want a few pieces with some dark crust)
Extra-virgin olive oil
(100 g) walnuts
Freshly ground black pepper
(40 g) irregular pieces (¼- to ½-inch) Ubriaco Rosso
(about 35 g) irregular pieces (¼- to ½-inch) Pecorino Duro
Extra-virgin olive oil
In This Recipe
Make the vinaigrette: Pound the garlic cloves into a paste in a mortar with the pestle. Add the anchovies and pound until everything is fairly smooth but still slightly chunky. Add the vinegar, olive oil, and cracked black pepper to taste and mix to combine. The idea is to get a broken vinaigrette with pieces of anchovy still visible.
Make the granola: Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Put the bread cubes on a baking sheet and toss with a few teaspoons of olive oil and a pinch of salt, then spread them out. Spread the nuts out on a separate baking sheet. Toast the bread and walnuts in the oven, tossing them every few minutes. Remove the nuts once they are dark and well toasted, about 8 minutes. Remove the bread once it’s dark brown and toasted all the way through, about 10 minutes. While the nuts are still warm, put them in a mortar, add a teaspoon of olive oil, a pinch of salt, a few generous cranks of black pepper, and a pinch of chile flakes and crush them into coarse chunks with the pestle. Using the bottom of a heavy pan, crush the bread cubes into chunks between ¼ and ½ inch. (With each component, you want a mix of textures and sizes.) Combine the croutons, walnuts, and cheeses in a medium bowl. Dress with the vinaigrette, mixing well. Let sit while you prepare the endives so the croutons get a little softer and the flavors come together.
Prepare the endives: Cut an inch off the bottom of each endive and discard. Gently peel back the leaves, continuing to trim the root as you go, until you get to the core (it’s the sweetest part of the endive). Cut each core in half lengthwise, or into quarters if it’s large, and toss them into the bowl.
To serve, season the endives with a generous pinch of salt. Grate the zest of the orange evenly over the top of the endives, then halve the orange and squeeze the juice over the leaves. Add the vinegar and gently toss the leaves to coat, as you don’t want them to bruise.
Spread the granola mixture evenly on two plates. Arrange the endive leaves on top so that they make little cups for the dressing. Sprinkle with salt, spoon on the orange juice mixture left in the bottom of the bowl, and drizzle on a bit of olive oil.