by Antonio Carluccio from Vegetables (Quadrille)
Photography: Laura Edwards
In Jewish cuisine in Rome, the endive was fried in olive oil without the stuffing on each side until crisp. I prefer it stuffed and then baked in the oven as southern Italian peasants do, calling it ‘buttoned-up endive’.
2 medium heads of curly endive (also known as frisée), about 700g (1lb 9oz), well washed and dried (You can substitute with chicory; white or red, endive, radicchio, lollo rosso or romaine lettuce).
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
100g (3½oz/2 cups) fresh white breadcrumbs
30g (1oz) pine nuts
20g (¾oz) soft raisins
50g (1¾oz) Pecorino cheese, freshly grated
2 medium garlic cloves, peeled and very finely puréed
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
20g (¾oz) small salted capers, desalted (soak in a bowl of water for 15 mins & drain well)
2 medium eggs, beaten
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/gas 4).
Trim the heads of the endives by tidying the outer leaves, removing any green tops that are less than crisp.
Blanch the heads in boiling salted water for about 4–5 minutes, just to soften the leaves. Leave to cool.
For the stuffing, mix the breadcrumbs with all the other stuffing ingredients, seasoning well with salt and pepper.
When the endives are cool, spread the leaves open, revealing their centres.
Fill this with the stuffing mixture, sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, and close by pulling the other leaves into the centre.
Tie each endive into a round shape using two pieces of string.
Place on a baking tray and sprinkle with the remaining olive oil.
Bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes or so, until the point of a sharp knife goes in easily.
Serve warm, halved or quartered, or serve a half portion as a generous starter.