Martha Hall Foose was born and raised in the Mississippi Delta. She attended the École Lenôtre pastry school in France before returning to Mississippi, where she opened Bottletree Bakery in Oxford, then the Mockingbird Bakery in Greenwood. Martha was also executive chef of the Viking Cooking School. Martha’s first cookbook, Screen Doors and Sweet Tea, won a James Beard Award. She lives in Tchula, Mississippi, on a farm with her husband and their son.
Here the master cook introduces a Southern US staple – chicory.
Chicory flowers are Aequinotales, meaning the flowers open and close at the same time just like clockwork. Here, that is from around six in the morning until the sun is high at noon. About the same time these blossoms are awakening, chicory roots blended with coffee are percolating across Louisiana. They make a fine combination. This dressing has the faintest sweetness of Louisiana molasses that works with the coffee to balance the bitter bite of the salad greens.
Chicory Salad with Coffee Molasses Vinaigrette
Yield: Serves 4
- 1⁄3 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1⁄3 cup canola oil
- 1/4 cup strong brewed coffee
- 1/4 cup molasses
- 1 large egg (or 2 tablespoons egg substitute or pasteurized egg)
- 2 tablespoons powdered pectin (such as Sure-Jell)
- 1 garlic clove, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 small heads radicchio, leaves separated
- 2 heads Belgian endive, leaves separated
- 1 small head frisee, leaves separated
- Make the dressing . Combine 1/4 cup water with the vinegar, oil, coffee, molasses, egg, pectin, garlic, salt, and red pepper flakes in a medium bowl.
- Whisk until combined. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.
- Assemble the salad. Combine the radicchio, endive, and frisée in a large bowl. Add some of the dressing and toss to combine.
Martha’s Additional Notes
- The addition of the pectin keeps the dressing from separating. You can store extra dressing in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Another wonderful use for this dressing is to drizzle it over baked winter squash.
- Chicory, Belgian endive, and radicchio are varieties of Cichorium intybus. Endive and escarole are the plant Cichorium endivia.
- If planted in the right succession, Aequinotales can be used to make a flower clock. Carolus Linnaeus, a Swedish botanist, came up with a schedule of flowers around 1748 for his Horologium Florae.
Southerly Course: Recipes & Stories from Close to Home will be released on April 12th 2011.
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