endive salad with toasted breadcrumbs and walnuts

I understand that most people, normal people, can outline phases of their lives through jobs or photo albums or even where they lived; I apparently can do it through endive salads I was obsessed with at the time. In 2005, there was one from Nigella Lawson in the New York Times with toasted hazelnuts, grain mustard, lime and orange and sesame oil. My husband and I were a relatively new thing at the time and he wasn’t terribly into endive but he ate it politely for weeks and weeks, and eventually came around, or caved. Same thing, right?

what you'll need

Nine years later, I surprised my husband with a weekend in Miami for his birthday, although I hadn’t realized when I booked it four months earlier that I would be pregnant at the time and unable to enjoy so many of the culinary wonders of José Andrés’ Bazaar — tartares and raw oysters and his signature gin and tonic and no I’m not still mad about it, you’re still mad about it and want a do-over. The endive salad with orange segments, goat cheese, almonds and chives made up for a whole lot; I couldn’t get enough of it and it made it at least 18 more times when I came home, and demanded you make it too. (I still maintain that nothing goes better with the latke course at any Hanukah lunch or dinner gathering, a lightweight contrast.)

torn bread, any old kindchunky breadcrumbssliced endivelightly dressed endive petals

Which brings us to the year 2017 and a date night at Estela. Because I’m really hip and have many clues, the restaurant had been around for years before I realized it was right in our neighborhood, so we went on a whim and didn’t really know what to expect, such as not to go without a reservation unless you enjoy idling in a cramped space. I commented that the place looked like the restaurant looked designed by J.Crew — preppy somehow but also happy to be in the background or maybe those are the same things I don’t know anything about fashion, okay? While we waited for our space, plates of endive leaves kept going by arranged like towers of petals, seemingly ordered by everyone. They looked so plain, as if they too were trying to disappear into the background, but I knew better, that entire restaurants don’t order plates of raw endive unless they know something we don’t. When we finally got our turn to order it we found out that at the bottom of that nest was a pile of crunchy, salty, glorious harmony with crushed, crunchy croutons, toasted walnuts, bits of soft funky cheese, crumbs of salty hard cheese, and a deeply salty vinaigrette with a hint of orange. We scooped it onto the endive leaves and ate them with our hands and I can’t even tell you what else we ordered, only that it was all very good and equally playful, but this is the thing I’ve talked about since. I’m not sure why it took me so long to actually Google it because had I, I would have realized that the chef Ignacio Mattos had generously shared this and other winter salad recipes with Bon Appetit nearly four years ago and that nobody is ever going to make it because of what I tell you next: It has anchovies in it. Several.

chopped walnuts, diced taleggio

Now that it’s just us two in the room, look, I know everyone says anchovies “aren’t fishy” and “you’ll never taste them” but I won’t even try. Just know that I’m probably one of the more fish-hesitant people you’ll meet (my people are from landlocked places, okay?) and I know small, pungent, hairy-seeming fish aren’t even trying to win us over but good for them because that leaves more of this for us. They’re wonderful here. They’re not, however, everything. The dressing is all about the walnuts, cheese, and croutons but they provide the background punch and saltly amplificaiton and yet there’s enough going on that I hadn’t actually called it out as an anchovy dressing until I read the recipe. Thus, I’ll also tell you that if nobody is ever going to convince you to eat anchovies, the most solid non-fish substitute I’ve found for anchovies is salted capers. Rinse and mince them up (about 1 to 2 tablespoons chopped) as you would the tinned fish and continue; it’s unlikely anyone but Matteo himself, or possibly this lady, will be the wiser.

the blissful dressing
endive salad with toasted walnuts and breadcrumbs

Wait, has it been quiet around here or something? I didn’t mean to disappear on you but it’s kind of adorable in hindsight that I thought the process of taking 28 flights to 22 cities on the Smitten Kitchen Every Day Fall 2017 Book Tour (a ridiculously fun thing I’d do again in a heartbeat, more of a summary coming soon) would leave me time lots of time to update this site in any kind of articulate, up-to-standards manner. There are exactly two events left on the book tour schedule — Wednesday night (tomorrow) in Manhattan and Saturday afternoon in Maplewood, NJ — but I’m otherwise back in town, and so excited to be cooking, and catching up, again.


One year ago: Chocolate Caramel Crunch Almonds + New Favorite Kitchen Things and Union Square Cafe’s Bar Nuts
Two years ago: Pull-Apart Rugelach, Tres Leches Cake + A Taco Party
Three years ago: Decadent Hot Chocolate Mix and Gingerbread Biscotti
Four years ago: Cigarettes Russes Cookies and Sugared Pretzel Cookies
Five years ago: Cauliflower-Feta Fritters with Pomegranate and Cashew Butter Balls
Six years ago: Nutmeg Maple Butter Cookies and Caesar Salad Deviled Eggs
Seven years ago: Roasted Chestnut Cookies and Garlic Butter Roasted Mushrooms
Eight years ago: Cream Biscuits, Coffee Toffee and Vanilla Roasted Pears
Nine years ago: Dark Chocolate Tart with Gingersnap Crust and Brown Butter Brown Sugar Shorties
Ten years ago: Ratatouille Tart, Pear Crisps with Vanilla Brown Butter
Eleven! years ago: Orangettes, Honey-Hoisin Pork Riblets and Chocolate Chip Sour Cream Coffee Cake

And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago: Crispy Spiced Lamb and Lentils and Stovetop Americanos
1.5 Years Ago: The Consummate Chocolate Cookie, Revisited, Charred Eggplant and Walnut Pesto Pasta Salad
2.5 Years Ago: Crispy Frizzled Artichokes and Saltine Crack Ice Cream Sandwiches
3.5 Years Ago: Coconut Brown Butter Cookies and Pasta and Fried Zucchini Salad
4.5 Years Ago: Rhubarb Cream Cheese Hand Pies and Bowties and Sugar Snaps with Lemon and Ricotta

Endive Salad with Toasted Breadcrumbs and Walnuts

In the magazine, the dressing mixture of crumbs, nuts, cheese and vinaigrette is hidden below the leaves, like a surprise-inside salad. I show it this way in my photos but you can also toss the whole thing together in a bowl for more traditional salad serving, or, if making it for a party, keep the endive leaves whole and the dressing separate with a small spoon and let people heap it on to taste and eat it as finger food. I’ll be doing this very soon.

To make the fresh breadcrumbs, I go to my grocery store’s bakery section and buy one roll — whatever you want to eat; this salad handles heartier bread such as a sourdough well. Cut off the crust, tear the bread into chunks and you’re set.

Mattos recommended 4 anchovies but I found 2 to be just right; adjust to your tastes.

To make this ahead: The dressing can be made with everything but the breadcrumbs and kept in the fridge for two days. Add the breadcrumbs closer to when you serve it.

Taleggio is a semisoft cheese with washed rind and one of my favorites; picture a firm brie.

  • 1/2 cup (55 grams or 2 ounces) raw walnuts
  • 1 cup (about 30 grams or 1 ounce) coarsely torn fresh breadcrumbs (see note)
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 anchovies, packed in oil, drained, finely chopped (see note)
  • 1 clove garlic finely grated
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • About 1/4 cup (55 grams or 2 ounces) taleggio, into 1/2-inch pieces
  • About 1/4 cup (45 grams or 1.5 ounces) pecorino romano or parmesan, broken into 1/4 to 1/2-inch pieces
  • 4 endives, sliced crosswise 1-inch thick (as shown) or left in whole leaves (see note)
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
  • 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar or white balsamic vinegar

Heat oven to 350°F. Toast walnuts on a rimmed baking sheet, tossing occasionally, until fragrant and slightly darker, 8–10 minutes. Let cool.

Toss breadcrumbs with 1 to 2 tablespoons oil and spread on baking sheet; season with salt and bake, tossing once, until deep golden brown, anywhere from 6 to 12 minutes, so check on the early side. Let cool.

In a medium bowl, mix anchovies, garlic, red wine vinegar, and 4 tablespoons olive oil just to combine; season with salt and pepper, then add walnuts, breadcrumbs, and both types of cheese and stir to combine.

Mix endive with orange zest, orange juice, and white wine vinegar in another medium bowl; season with salt and pepper.

To serve as shown: Spread walnut dressing out on one large salad platter or individual plates. Top with endive.

To serve as finger food, with whole leaves: Pile the dressed leaves on a platter. Place the walnut dressing in a bowl with a small spoon and encourage people to spoon it onto each leaf “boat” before eating it.

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89 comments on endive salad with toasted breadcrumbs and walnuts

  1. SallyT

    YAY! You’re back! You must have major whiplash (let alone jet lag, altitude issues (?) ) from that crazy book tour. We’re making our way through SK everyday, and loving it. Thanks for such a refreshing looking recipe!

  2. Charlotte in Toronto

    ❤Congratulations on a successful book tour! I’m so happy so welcome you back! I followed along every day. This looks devine.

    1. Charlotte in Toronto

      This salad will be a much needed diversion from all the butter, sugar and chocolate that’s been finding its way into my mouth lately.

  3. stephabelle

    I really feel like you can’t have Belgian endives without really good blue cheese (I’m thinking the Bearfoot Contessa’s recipe with pears and Roquefort). I’m willing to give this a go though.

    (Also, you must hate anchovies so much you omitted them from your list of ingredients – 2 packed in oil)

  4. Brittany

    Just wanted to say we already adore SK Everyday, have made the chicken and rice multiple times mmmm, and thank you for bringing back the “Previously” part of your posts. Those are my way of “outlining phases of my life” – well-put. I can remember what was happening way back when I made some of those recipes for the first time, no small thing with small children around! Plus, sometimes a good reminder about a great recipe that somehow fell off my radar!

  5. Cait

    Ooh I love most of the things in this salad (including anchovies). But since endive can be so bitter if there’s not enough salty and umami stuff in a bite to balance it, I always chop endives as thinly as possible when making salad. Do you think it would lose anything if the dressing were chopped finer and the endives were shredded?

  6. Marie

    This might just be my favorite salad in the world. We live in DC, and I am not exaggerating when I say I’ve insisted on making a quick trip to NYC just because I am craving this salad (and the arroz negro). But somehow, like you, I had never googled it. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  7. Lauren

    Triumphant return to the blog, YAY! Anna is darling (as always) and we have missed her too. This salad sounds divine, and just what we need ( no sugar) this time of year. Best of all is having your “Voice” back, your sense of humor and lovely way of sharing anecdotes. I have gained a lot of weight just looking at those cookies the last couple of months… glad to have a lighter alternative to look at now. Maybe the weight will magically cancel itself off ??? Happy Holidays to you and yours.

  8. Monika

    Hi Deb – soooo glad you’re back!!! I was starting to do the spoiled blogger-stalking thing of “where is she, how long’s she been gone now, how dare she leave us without some witty repartee and an excellent recipe?” This looks like a really good one – I love salads but generally dislike making them (too much washing, chopping, slicing, etc.) but this is simple enough that I could be talked into it. Was thinking though, maybe chestnuts instead of walnuts, since they ARE in season right now??

  9. Marcia

    Did you know that Worcestershire sauce ( which most people love) is made with anchovies? This might be a good substitute for people who have trouble looking at actual whole anchovies .

  10. I adore all things fishy, so I am thrilled to see anchovies in this recipe. I will make this salad!

    Your Miami story reminded me: once, when I was newly pregnant, I ordered a Pittsburgh salad at a restaurant that was famous for it (beef tips, fries, blue cheese dressing on a salad) and when it came, my stomach turned and I was very pregnantly sick and unable to eat it. I have never gotten over this, apparently, because I’m still, 12 years later, obsessed with Pittsburgh salads and eat them whenever I see them and make them at home with leftover steak in the summer.

  11. I had a party this weekend and one of my friends brought a dish: endive leaves with four different stuffings. OMG delish.
    My husband is Belgian and used to grow his own endives in the crawl space under the house. It’s a thing there. He loves them cooked, wrapped in ham and with tons of cream. However, when I can persuade him to have them in a salad, they tend to be cut into thinnish rounds, and tossed with, as you say, croutons, nuts and a cheesy dressing. I’ll have to try your version with the orange addition. Back in the ’80s, it was very chic to do a spinach salad with pecans, avocado slices and mandarin oranges, in a vinaigrette made with the orange juice.

  12. I am happy that you are back! You signed a copy of your book for me in Seattle on November 13th. I was not there then, but I have had my copy since the 15th and have loved everything–I think at this point it is SEVEN recipes–that I have made. This means I have many more to try.

  13. alex

    I’m the creepy insta stalker/ Chicagoan that recognized this salad on your stories the other day, and THANK YOU for sharing this. That I can have this deliciousness again soon without flying to the east coast is of deep comfort to me. Thank you for being just like me and going to sexy restaurants for the salads/sides/vegetables.

  14. Molly

    Welcome back, Deb! I’m about to get all over this salad!

    So, I’ll be using the caper trick (vegetarian). Question though, is there a brand that you recommend? I’ve had no luck finding one I’m happy with so far. Thanks!

  15. Sarah in NF CT

    Not sure that I can find taleggio locally. Any suggestions for a substitute? Glad you’re back. Love your book. The double .ginger apple crumble, is wonderful and a great option for 2 people. Just enough leftovers got breakfast the next morning. My daughter is currently making the short ribs every week.

  16. Nicole R

    The best substitute I’ve found for anchovies is miso, I’d be interested in your opinion? It has a funk that capers seem to lack. I am vegetarian and anchovies are my dad’s greatest substitution challenge.

    1. The other side of the world refers to the Southern Hemisphere (Australia/New Zealand, Southern South America, Southern Africa, etc.), who experience their seasons opposite us in the Northern Hemisphere. Winter here is summer there, so they might be looking for inspiration for tomatoes and corn right now rather than squash, cabbage, or Pumpkin Spice Everything.

    2. deb

      There are lots of SK readers in Australia, where it’s now summer, i.e. the opposite season. So, holiday stuff probably won’t entice the way summer recipes will.

      1. Deanna

        I love the opposite side of the world so much! I started reading SK when I was a wee thing living in California, and it’s come with me to both New Zealand and England.

  17. Vickie

    Love your blog and I was so happy to see you in Tulsa!!
    I have so many favorite recipes from your first cookbook. Thank you for all of your cooking inspiration!!

    Happy Holidays!

  18. Lucy from Toronto

    I was just thinking about what I could make with the meagre mish-mash of ingredients in my fridge for dinner tonight – of which I have EVERYTHING to make this! Even the hairy, salty little guys! The stars have aligned! And now I will order your new book because I love you so…

  19. Megan

    Thank you! Had been thinking about searching for a salad to serve Christmas Eve, hadn’t actually gotten to it. This is perfect! We love anchovies, and taleggio, and endive. I think I’ll plate individually, serving the leaves on the bottom in a more traditional presentation.

  20. Rachel

    I’m nut-averse, but I do love pine nuts (not an actual nut, apparently). Do you think they’d work well here for the crunch factor? It looks so tasty.

  21. Deanna

    I’m leaving for three weeks in two days, so I made a modified version because if it wasn’t already in my house I wasn’t buying it. So it had blue cheese, lemon for orange, and no walnuts. Still delicious, but I’ll have to make the original when I’m back!

  22. Lara

    interesting – what you show in the pictures, I would call chicory, not endive. good to know for future reading of US recipes. nevertheless, this sounds delicious! one of my all-time favourite winter salads is endive (staying with your wording), radicchio and pomegranate kernels, tossed with a dressing of olive oil, lemon juice and a bit of honey and salt. easy and yummy!

  23. Erin

    LOVE LOVE LOVE Jose Andres’ endive with the goat cheese, oranges, and almonds – I always order it when I’m at one of his restaurants! I have a substitution question please, as I’m allergic to walnuts. Could I sub almonds into your recipe? Or is it better to just leave out the nuts entirely?

  24. Meleyna

    A year or so ago I was making Caesar salad, and realized I was out of anchovies. I added a few hefty dashes of fish sauce instead, and happily have done the same for every Caesar salad since. It’s not exactly the same, but provides that needed salty oomph with less mess, which is all this mom of two ever wants.

  25. Jennifer

    Thanks for reminding me about Jose Andres’ version. One great advantage of living in DC is his restaurants, and I happened to be at Jaleo last night, and we ordered it. I hadn’t had it in quite a while, but it was just as good as I remembered!

  26. DB

    Great recipe and so glad to see something new. Of course you had an incredible schedule, but for those of us who have bought both books and read every week, it was tough seeing the same cookies every time we logged on. Next time, if there is one, please bank a couple new things ahead of time that we can view while we are waiting for you to do your tour.

  27. JP

    Have made a couple recipes from your new cookbook (carmelized cabbage risotto and potatoes and asparagus gribiche). Next comes carrot salad with tahini, crisped chickpeas, and salted pistachios (cooking for friends who eat vegan and gluten-free!). Lastly in line for now: cheesecake semifreddo with gingersnaps and cranberries for our Christmas dinner dessert. We refer to these recipes as “Smitten Too”! Great cookbook and will be enjoyed for many years, just like your first. Thank you so much for your yummy recipes and clever writing!

  28. Francoise

    So nice meeting you in Maplewood. I was too tongue tied to say this then but I love the blog and cookbooks. Thank you for the continued inspiration to try all the things.

  29. Janice

    Hi Deb: Another nut problem person — my husband is allergic to tree nuts. Any thoughts about substitutions would be most appreciated. He can eat pine nuts (they’re seeds) and I’ve used sunflower seeds as a substitute for tree nuts in desperation a few times. . . . Thank you! Janice

  30. Babs

    This looks awesome, but there is no way that anchovies will go over in my family. Also I already have salted capers in my house. How many/how much would you use?

  31. SL

    Thanks for the pregnancy story – I feel exactly the same way :) and on that note – any ideas for pregnancy-safe cheese to replace the taleggio? Thnx

  32. Coralie

    Before I opened the full post I was going to comment – go to Estela! We also only ordered the endives because they kept floating around us, and they were one of my favourites of the night (that chocolate dessert though…)

  33. Lila

    This vegetarian thanks you for the capers tip! I had an unexpected capers experience as a kid that put me off them for a while, but I’ll be an adult (haha) and try them again because your description of this salad sounds amazing.

  34. Jane Cohen

    really good!
    For the vinegars, I used all sherry vinegar. Also, capers – good, organic ones – in water, which I dried & then added salt, since I find the salted ones too salty.
    Left out orange zest since I didn’t want to add any (more) bitter. And used
    just a bit more EVOO than called for – seemed to need it. Used a mix of parm & pec.
    Merry Christmas!

  35. Megan

    I made this for my fancy-ish plated Christmas Eve dinner. The endive tasted a little blah tossed with the orange juice and zest, so I was a little worried, but no need. Once all together, this salad was so so so good. I have leftovers for lunch today and can’t wait!! I used 2 anchovies, and breadcrumbs from hot dog (home made) buns, plated endive on the bottom, spoon of goodies over the top.

  36. alyssa

    This made for a beautiful Christmas salad. Lots of picky, non-endive eaters had seconds of this salad, and now I have a new favorite cheese in Taleggio. Thanks as always, Deb, for pushing me out of my culinary comfort zone!

  37. The plating and assembly on this was sort of fussy but it was worth it. My first bite was sort of underwhelming . . . and then I couldn’t stop eating it, it was so good.

  38. Mindy

    This is unbelievably good. I knew I was going to like it because I love the other endive salad with citrus segments, but I really can’t get over how amazing this is. It is the perfect New Year’s Eve lunch, although it would also be a perfect New Year’s Eve party food. I forgot to put the breadcrumbs in until I had eaten about half the salad, and I don’t think they’re necessary (although they’re delicious). Also, I didn’t have any red wine vinegar, so I substituted white balsamic honey vinegar, and I didn’t have taleggio so used an asiago covered in rosemary, and used Sartori’s montamore instead of the Parmesan/Pecorino.

  39. Babs

    I made this as a tossed salad to go with Christmas dinner and it was excellent – replaced anchovies with salted capers and taleggio with fontina because it was what was available. I actually tossed the endives in the orange dressing prior to leaving my house, so it was marinating for about 2h prior to being eaten, and it totally worked! So for those who are looking for make-ahead or portability, endives can be tossed in the orange dressing ahead of time, I kept the croutons and parmesan in a separate container and otherwise I mixed all the dressing ingredients, including the nuts and cubed fontina, together in a mason jar – only 3 containers to bring made life a lot easier! Dressing mixed into croutons/parmesan, then all that tossed into the marinated endives (or the endives on top if you aren’t tossing), and voilà!

    Only issue I have is that I don’t really like endive all that much (sorry!!) – I find it quite bitter, and even with the marinating it was a little much for me (though family members were raving). Any suggestions for hearty but not as bitter alternative to endives?

  40. Bea Mendoza

    This was absolutely delicious! I used 3 anchovies (love them) but couldn´t even tell (the flavor becomes totally masked). I was also serving “Potatoes Anna” which has lots of pecorino so I skipped it but otherwise followed the recipe to a t. Outstanding salad even for people who do not usually like endives. The orange is a fantastic touch.

  41. itsalliball

    I’ve made this a handful of times – the combo of bright, fresh, crunchy & salty is just perfect. I also love that this is a forgiving recipe. Don’t have bread? Toss in a grain. Don’t have taleggio? Skip it. Want more greens? Toss in some arugula. Allergic to walnuts? Use any other nut, or skip all together. Use this recipe as a base, and build from there. It’s DELICIOUS.

    1. HA! I came to comment on how good this recipe is, and realize I had commented years ago. Well, I’m back to confirm that yes, years later – I’m still making this and still loving this! Thanks, Deb.

  42. Marion W

    I’ve been sheltering indoors a while so I made my best approximation of this salad for lunch, and now my tastebuds think they’ve been out for a walk in the spring sunshine! As someone else noted, the recipe is very forgiving – I used curly endive, oil saved from a jar of recently-finished anchovies, cooked white beans instead of breadcrumbs, and no tagleggio – and it was fresh-tasting and delicious.

  43. Alice Hess

    Staunch fan here, & especially for your great videos… are a star! One comment, though, about the WAAAY too-vigorous arm-waving. It is so distracting! If you could get that under control, perfection! Thank you and Congratulations on your great work.

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