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, about 700g (1lb 9oz), well washed and dried
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 100g (31⁄2oz/2 cups) fresh white breadcrumbs
- 30g (1oz) pine nuts
- 20g (3⁄4oz) soft raisins
- 50g (13⁄4oz) Pecorino cheese, freshly grated
- 2 medium garlic cloves, peeled and very finely puréed
- 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 20g (3⁄4oz) small salted capers, desalted
- 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
From Vegetables by Antonio Carluccio, Quadrille £25