endive spears

Posted by Leticia, 15 Oct 06

endive spears

Dr. Wright:
This is Dr. Letitia Wright with idcdating.com. IDC Dating is where we're creating multicultural relationships everyday. And we're here with our sexy chef Rocky Fino. He is the author of the award-winning book "Will Cook for Sex." Hey, Rocky.

Rocky Fino:
How are we doing?

Your perfect partner could be online right now...

What are you looking for?

Dr. Wright:
We're doing great. What is on the menu today?

Rocky Fino:
On the menu today, as we continue to play the spectrum of good reasons and events to cook, is I thought we'd do look back at an idea that comes to my mind all the time, and that is casual night in

Dr. Wright:
Okay. Casual night in. We're just...

Rocky Fino:
(Inaudible).

Dr. Wright:
Relaxing, maybe we'll watch a movie, maybe we're playing scrabble or whatever we like to play, whatever games we like to play.

Rocky Fino:
Whatever it is, we're not sitting down over a big meal, we're just going to have something on the table that we can pick at throughout the night. It's good, it's there and, you know it's just part of the evening but it's not the main part of the evening. You know, you're just like you said, doing whatever you want to be doing but you got to eat something.

Dr. Wright:
Yes. Or else, we'll pass out.

Rocky Fino:
That's right. So what we're going to do, one of my favorites, is the Belgian endive. It's a vegetable with a little, it's a got a bitter leaf, but it's got a nice little, it's kind of the perfect edible basket.

Dr. Wright:
Oh, okay.

Rocky Fino:
And there's a number of things you can fill this little endive leaf with. Today we're going to do a kind of a Thai flavored lime chicken.

Dr. Wright:
Oh, sounds delicious.

Rocky Fino:
Yeah. It's kind of fun and like I said, it's such a versatile little leaf. It's such an upgrade from the old standards of, you know, the old days of people with celery sticks and peanut butter.

Dr. Wright:
Yes.

Rocky Fino:
We'll she's going to appreciate this a little more.

Dr. Wright:
Great. Okay, well let's go shopping. What do we need?

Rocky Fino:
Let's go shopping. We're going to start with, get a couple of stalks of Belgian endive. If you don't know what they are, you can ask the produce man but they're about five inches long, little white and light green vegetables. You get two of those. And then you get a bunch of cilantro. We're not going to use a ton of it but it's good to have it around, anyway. You got to buy it by the bunch anyway.

Dr. Wright:
Exactly. You buy the whole bunch and just wash it off and cilantro smells so good.

Rocky Fino:
It's good to have around just for smell anyway. And then we're going to get two to three limes.

Dr. Wright:
Got it.

Rocky Fino:
A package of goat cheese, small pack.

Dr. Wright:
Okay.

Rocky Fino:
It usually comes in a 4 oz. pack.

Dr. Wright:
Is goat cheese crumbly? Is it smooth and spready? What does it look like?

Rocky Fino:
You buy in two ways. You can buy it in... It's a very smooth cheese in the package but you can also buy it crumbled.

Dr. Wright:
Okay.

Rocky Fino:
And when you try to break it off, it crumbles.

Dr. Wright:
Okay.

Rocky Fino:
So it's not a blue cheese, you know. It's much creamier, much smoother, not as pungent as a blue. And then we're going to get a chicken breast. And here's the one trick to the recipe that you can cut a corner. We can get a one large skinless chicken breast or if in your store sells ground chicken, you can buy ground chicken and save yourself the step of having to chop up and mince the chicken breast.

Dr. Wright:
Oh, okay. So we don't have to chop it up, we can just buy ground chicken and move right along.

Rocky Fino:
Yes. So, it's one large chicken breast skinless or I think the equivalent is about a half pound of ground chicken.

Dr. Wright:
Okay. Half pound. (Inaudible). Alright. That's it?

Rocky Fino:
Nope, we got just couple of more items.

Dr. Wright:
Okay.

Rocky Fino:
We're going to get a package of walnuts, crumbled walnuts.

Dr. Wright:
Okay.

Rocky Fino:
One shallot, which we talked about before but I'll remind you, it's the little small onion, its got much more pop to it. So it's more flavorful.

Dr. Wright:
Much more flavorful.

Rocky Fino:
Yeah.

Dr. Wright:
That's why chefs always...

Rocky Fino:
(Inaudible).

Dr. Wright:
Instead of, I mean little more power.

Rocky Fino:
You got it. And then we're going to need some chicken broth. We're going to need about a half cup. So, you're going to get a little can of chicken broth.

Dr. Wright:
Okay.

Rocky Fino:
Now, you should already have olive oil, and salt and pepper in your cupboard.

Dr. Wright:
That is our standard. If you've never listened to...

Rocky Fino:
That's right.

Dr. Wright:
Our podcast before, you got to know Rocky always says you have to have the salt and pepper, and the olive oil.

Rocky Fino:
I have an alarm in my kitchen. If the olive oil gets below like 3 oz., you know, red lights start flashing.

Dr. Wright:
Alright. So, we've got our little basics.

Rocky Fino:
Alright.

Dr. Wright:
And that's it.

Rocky Fino:
That's it.

Dr. Wright:
Okay. That's a very simple recipe and it doesn't take a whole lot of ingredients.

Rocky Fino:
Yeah. That's the idea all the time. You hate to put somebody to the test of having to do shopping all afternoon and running to different stores and trying to find specialty ingredients. You know, specially for people who are just getting involved and cooking for somebody and they have other things on their mind. You know, they want to make sure the evening turns out right. Try and keep the food, you know, the food's going to work. You don't have to stress over it and we're keeping it simple.

Dr. Wright:
Okay. That sounds excellent. Alright. So we've got all of our ingredients, we're at home and...

Rocky Fino:
Ready to get started.

Dr. Wright:
Yeah, we're ready.

Rocky Fino:
Alright. First things you want to do is just kind of prep everything before we heat the pan, so we're going to do some chopping. Now, if you bought the ground chicken, you've got that step already done. Otherwise, you got to kind of mince up your chicken breast and as small pieces as you can. And then take your shallot, peel and mince the shallot. Same thing, mince is you know, smallest squares as you can make it. And then we're going to cut our limes in half because you're going to need the juice from the limes.

Dr. Wright:
Okay.

Rocky Fino:
Now, the walnuts, if you buy chopped walnuts, I like to chop them just a little finer than they come in the package. It's just personal preference. You don't have to do it but have them out and ready. Just have, you know, your chopped walnuts there. I like to lay everything out in a cutting board.

Dr. Wright:
Okay. So that we can just...

Rocky Fino:
You pick at it as you...

Dr. Wright:
Put everything into the pan and make it easy or...?

Rocky Fino:
Yeah, well we're only going to go in the pan with the chicken and the shallot but it's nice to have the ingredients all laid out, so you can just, you know, work from the board. The French use a term, it's called, I don't know. I know very little French but I believe it's (inaudible).

Dr. Wright:
Okay.

Rocky Fino:
Which is put in place.

Dr. Wright:
Put in place. Okay.

Rocky Fino:
Yeah, get everything laid out, you know, it makes the action of cooking a lot simpler.

Dr. Wright:
Okay. That sounds like a great idea.

Rocky Fino:
Now, we're going to heat up a tablespoon of olive oil in the pan.

Dr. Wright:
Alright.

Rocky Fino:
And then we're going to add our minced shallot.

Dr. Wright:
That's going to smell delicious.

Rocky Fino:
All you want to do is add the minced shallot for just about a minute, just soften the minced shallot with the nice aroma going. And then add the chicken.

Dr. Wright:
Okay

Rocky Fino:
And we're going to cook that chicken and shallot, mix it up a little bit and just cook it over at medium heat for about 7-10 minutes. And then after about 10 minutes time, we're going to add equal parts, lime juice and chicken broth.

Dr. Wright:
Oh, okay.

Rocky Fino:
I like to go with the lime juice first. I find that when you go with the lime juice first, the chicken really sucks it in. The lime flavor really just, you know, the chicken grabs it.

Dr. Wright:
Okay. So that the chicken broth doesn't overpower it.

Rocky Fino:
Well, chicken broth deludes it, kind of. So, you get it in the chicken first and then add the broth.

Dr. Wright:
Okay.

Rocky Fino:
And then add a little salt to taste. And all you're going to do is sauté that for a little bit longer, just until your minced-up chicken turns white. And you can remove that from the heat. We're not going to serve it hot, so once it's white, remove it from the heat and let the pan cool.

Dr. Wright:
Okay. So this is a dish that's going to be served at room temperature?

Rocky Fino:
Room temp, yeah. It's a room temp dish. So now, we've cooked our chicken, we've slid it over the table and it's cooling. Now, while that's cooling, we're going to set up our plate. The neat part about this plate is the presentation. Take the endive spear leaves and you peel them off and then fan them out on a plate, usually in nice, round pattern. And make a nice little pattern of the endive spears.

Dr. Wright:
Okay. It sounds great.

Rocky Fino:
Yeah.

Dr. Wright:
I mean the presentation is so important.

Rocky Fino:
Yeah. And this one is great. You know, this is a meal. This is a great one of just the two of you or better yet, if you have some friends coming over, it's a great one to have out because everybody is just, you know, it's such an eye-pleaser, to just walk in and look at this plate that looks like you did so much which really you haven't done much. You're the one holding the secret. It didn't take too much time.

Dr. Wright:
Plus, it smells great, so it certainly is going to smell like (inaudible).

Rocky Fino:
You bet. So now, we're going to fan the leaves out as much as you can fit in the plate and then, you know, if you got that extra you can always just make another plate however you want to do it. And then once you got the leaves out, we're going to start, we're going to take the chicken, which is still warm but it's not too hot to deal with.

Dr. Wright:
And it's not going to wilt the leaves?

Rocky Fino:
No, not at all. These leaves are, you know, they got some thickness to them and they hold. So we're going to add about a tablespoon or two to the leaves, you know. The outer leaves of the endive spear are bigger than the inside ones. So, you know, just kind of fill the bottom of each leaf with some chicken.

Dr. Wright:
Okay. And it will be like a little food basket.

Rocky Fino:
You got it.

Dr. Wright:
Okay.

Rocky Fino:
Now, we're just going to layer our ingredients in this basket. We come through with the chicken and the next pass, we're going to take our goat cheese. If you bought crumbled goat cheese, just sprinkle it in there. If you bought the goat cheese in the block, you want to crumble it onto the leaf. And here's a quick little tip, if you bought goat cheese that's in the block, it tends to get really creamy and sticky to your hands. I throw it in the freezer for a couple minutes, like five minutes before I'm going to deal with it. When it's frozen, it breaks off nice and crumbly.

Dr. Wright:
Okay. And then you have (inaudible) on your fingers.

Rocky Fino:
Otherwise, it starts to build up in your fingers, you can't get crumbles. You know, so now we got the chicken, the goat cheese, sprinkle some walnuts in each leaf and then take your final ingredient with the cilantro leaves. Take the leaves off the stem and drop two to three leaves in each little spear.

Dr. Wright:
Wow!

Rocky Fino:
Take a few sprigs of your cilantro from the bunch, use it as a garnish for the plate.

Dr. Wright:
And voila, we can snack all night.

Rocky Fino:
And voila, you laid that out and like I said, it's a neat one because you can snack all night. It is served at room temp. You know, they've been sitting out for awhile, no problem. It is an eye-catcher. I've used it many times for like, you know, you get invited over and people say bring a dish or something like that. And you walk in the door with that and you watch everybody just make their way right to it.

Dr. Wright:
Okay. That sounds delicious and when we're thinking about garnishing the plate, I always feel like I never have quite enough ideas for that, so you can put them in a circle, whatever little tricks do you usually do to make the plate look really good?

Rocky Fino:
You get creative in time, you know. If you're going to do a bigger platter and you have like an actual, you know, you're not using just a dinner plate but you have a platter, they seem to fan around, the circle is the most obvious way to do it. You can make other patterns. You can do like, you know, I've done it, to make it look like a Christmas tree.

Dr. Wright:
Okay.

Rocky Fino:
Where you know, you kind of... Again, this is where your artistic creativity comes in. You haven't changed the meal at all, you're just playing with the way you're laying it on the plate. And then when you know, based on what you got, like the ingredients with cilantro, and/or let's say I've taken pieces of the remainder of the endive spear. Chop that up, sprinkle it in between the leaves, you know, just it's all décor.

Dr. Wright:
It's all about décor, all of it.

Rocky Fino:
And all that stuff is... That's your own imagination, just let it go wild and create you know, without altering the food of course. Don't sprinkle up, you know, raspberry juice or anything on it but just anything that will just attract, make that plate look that much more attractive. It makes it... It is that much more of an experience for anybody that you're serving food to. Always consider, you eat with your eyes first.

Dr. Wright:
And it's amazing how much it makes a difference. You kind of, you know, mentally it doesn't make sense that it does but you're right, when the plate looks beautiful and inviting, you really want to taste the food. And even if for some chance someone didn't like what's on the plate, they always still admire the plate.

Rocky Fino:
Yeah. They admire your work. Even if they're like, "I don't like chicken but boy! That's beautiful." And trust me, when I was saying that this is a versatile idea, lobster, shrimp, you know, even if you don't want to use any meat, you can use a vegetable stuffing. You can do so many things with this neat little bitter leaf that holds... It's the perfect edible basket. It holds whatever you want to put in it.

Dr. Wright:
Okay. Can we try the... substitute the ground turkey for ground chicken?

Rocky Fino:
You can do ground turkey if you like. Yeah, turkey would work fine.

Dr. Wright:
Okay. That is an awesome dish. That is... You know, I always feel like I just want to run out and start cooking whatever you just told me.

Rocky Fino:
Well, that's the idea. That's what I'm trying to get you to do.

Dr. Wright:
Okay. Well, I'll see if I can make that for lunch because that is a super simple dish and I'm telling you, my lips are watering just thinking about the chicken, and the onion, and the cilantro and again, how good the kitchen is going to smell. It's going to smell like you have been cooking all night.

Rocky Fino:
You got it. You can imagine a day in my life. That's work, work, work.

Dr. Wright:
That's a good job.

Rocky Fino:
That's right.

Dr. Wright:
That's a good job. If I was that good at it, I'd be doing that too, though. Well, this has been Dr. Leticia Wright with our sexy chef, Rocky Fino, for idcdating.com. Remember, idcdating.com is where we're creating multicultural relationships everyday. And if you're new to the podcast, you can go to idcdating.com and sign up so that you can get this great information every week. We're coming with new recipes. And Rocky's specialty is really making our dating life great with some wonderful food, right?

Rocky Fino:
You bet.

Dr. Wright:
Okay. Well, we'll see you next time. Remember, ignoring one's conscience is neither safe nor right.

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