Someday soon my fridge will eat me. I'll rummage around for a carrot, and 3 hours later my kids will reach in for a snack and there I'll be, kale in my ears, beets up my nose, a giant pomelo wedged under my chin. "Hey," I'll say. "Wassup?"
At the moment, frankly, that's what things are like around here. There's a whole lot of vegetable matter going on, and a serious fruit situation, too. Need a turnip, or some kiwis? How big's your car?
This, my friends, is the hot and sexy life of a food writer. Turnips, kiwis, and wacked out visions of man-eating appliances. I'm sure there's a Lady Gaga song in there somewhere, not to mention a whole turnip-themed wardrobe/dance routine.
Generally, I spend about a week fussing with the same roots and tubers and tree-fruits and whatnot, and then, boom!, just like that I need to move on. So I grab everything left in the fridge -- a couple of endive, a lonely pear, a sprightly chile, a long-forgotten sheaf of parsley. (Sorry, parsley. What we had was so special.)
I unearth the slicer.
I grill some cheese.
I whisk a dressing.
Endive Pear Halloumi Salad with sherry vinaigrette
Halloumi is a Cypriot cheese that's salty and firm, and when you toss it in a hot grill pan, it browns and keeps its shape -- without melting. If you haven't tried it yet, you should.
Also, I'm a huge believer in the power of a mandoline, or v-slicer, to make hard fruits and vegetables look fancy. Do you have to run out and buy one? ABSOLUTELY NOT. But you just might find yourself eating more salads if you have one in your arsenal. Please, though, always use the safety guard. (Here is the Borner v-slicer I use, though more affordable ones are available, too.)
Makes 2 large servings or 4 side servings
4 slices Halloumi cheese (see head note), pat dry
2 heads endive, stems sliced off, leaves separated
1 bosc pear, unpeeled, sliced medium-thick (on a v-slicer, if you have one)
1 bulb fennel, cored, sliced thinly (on a v-slicer, if you have one)
1/2 to 1 small red chile, seeds and veins removed, if desired, sliced
1/4 cup dried cherries
Big handful of Italian parsley, chopped
2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons sherry vinegar
Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. When hot, add cheese and cook until dark grill marks appear on the underside. Flip and cook until the other side gets marks, too.
On a good sized platter, layer the endive, pear, fennel, and cheese in haphazard stacks. Sprinkle with the chile, cherries, and parsley. Whisk the oil and vinegar in a small bowl and season with salt and pepper. (Watch the salt -- the cheese has plenty.) Drizzle on the salad.