Our second recipe from the watermill is a very simple starter, so simple that we’ve given it the posh Italian name above. Bit of a mouthful and not half as delicious as the real thing. Being translated, it means: Leaves of endive (chicory) filled with gorgonzola, walnuts and Lunigiana honey (Protected Designation of Origin). It doesn’t take much longer to prepare the dish than to say the name!
Lois says: “I always detect a certain amount of snickering when I serve this as a primo piatto because it looks so EASY. Well, it is easy…… but also incredibly delicious.”
Here’s Lois being silly with 11 quick endive starters!
Lois says; “I think that the trick is to choose your gorgonzola carefully – the ‘piccante’ version is just a little too firm (as well as salty); the ‘dolce’ version is more melt-in-the mouth. And the Lunigiana honey is best in Italy (See below). The mix of salt and sweet, together with crisp green chicory leaf and walnut crunch is just delectable and I defy anyone to make anything quite so tasty in so short a time”
Here are the ingredients to serve 8 people:
24 medium-size chicory leaves
250g gorgonzola dolce
a large handful of shelled walnuts
4 teaspoonsful of acacia honey
And the method?
Allow 3 chicory leaves per person. Divide the gorgonzola between them, spreading it on the inside of each leaf. Roughly crumble the walnuts over the filled leaves, then drizzle the honey over.
Ta-da! It’s ready already!
We also thought it might be fun that when you’ve made one our dishes, you take a photograph and sent it to us, with your comments. Just email it as a jpeg attachment to info@watermill,net We’ll publish your pictures in this blog and on Facebook. Happy food preparation, happy snapping – and happy eating!
Buon appetito! Buono fotografare!
More on Lunigiana honey, the best in Italy:
Honey from Lunigiana, the unspoilt area of Northern Tuscany in which the mill is situated, is the only one in Italy to have been given the coveted DOP (Denominazione di Origine Protetta) designation. Other products include Parma ham and Parmesan cheese and the balsamic vinegar of Modena, as well as regional olive oils.
Beekeepers in Lunigiana still keep to the centuries-old traditions to ensure the quality of the honey. The earliest records of honey making go back to the early 16th Century (when the authorities realised they could tax the product!) and, amazingly, if you compare the locations of beehives on ancient maps with those on a modern one there is a perfect match. The hives today are located in precisely the same areas as they were five centuries ago.
Two types of honey are made in Lunigiana: the lighter-coloured, delicately flavoured acacia honey and the darker, more strongly flavoured chestnut honey. We use both at the watermill, but we think the acacia is better with the endive, gorgonzola and walnuts.
We usually serve our endive starter at Tuesday during our painting holidays and creative writing courses. You can find out more about our painting holidays by clicking here. And about all our creative courses, by clicking here.