Endives, Apples and Grapes; So Unexpectedly Delicious

May 19th, 2012
There is a 3 Star Michelin rated restaurant in Paris that I have no intention of visiting.  It is not that I wouldn’t enjoy eating there.  I’m sure that I would.  But it would be hard for me to spend 360 euros per person for a meal.  The restaurant is L’Arpege and the chef is Alain Passard.   Alain Passard has come to be known as the vegetable magician.  In 2001 he removed red meat from his menu and put an emphasis on vegetables instead.  But these are not just any vegetables.  He maintains a large biodynamic vegetable farm in the Sarthe area of France, 200 kilometers Southwest of Paris.  The fields are plowed by mules and there is not a pesticide or machine in sight.  Each day’s pick goes out to Paris by TGV fast train.  Within an hour it is in the L’Arpege kitchen where the magic begins.

This recipe for endives, apples and grapes is one of Alain Passard’s creations.  It is in Dorrie Greenspan’s cookbook, Around my French Table.  I have always loved braised endive but it had never occurred to me to braise grapes.  I will never look at grapes the same way again.  They are wonderfully sweet when cooked.  This dish combines the slightly bitter taste of the endive with the natural sweetness of the apple and grapes to make a memorable side dish.  It paired nicely with the pork ribs that we grilled.

I don’t need to spend a fortune at a 3 star restaurant when I can enjoy a meal like this at home.  But still, I might just walk by L’Arpege when we are in Paris and admire it from afar.


2 plump endives, trimmed
1 tart-sweet apple, such as Fuji or Gala
1 1/2 tablespoons salted butter (if you can find butter with sea salt crystals, use it)
4 small clusters white or green grapes
4 small rosemary sprigs
Salt, preferably fleur de sel, and freshly ground pepper

Cut the endives lengthwise in half.  Cut the apple into quarters and remove the core.  Peel off a thin strip of skin down the center of each quarter.

Put a large skillet over low heat and toss in the butter.  When it’s melted, put the endive into the pan cut side down and the apples skin side up.  Add the grapes, scatter over the rosemary, and cook, undisturbed, for 20 minutes, at which point the underside of the endives will have caramelized and the apples and grapes will be soft and perhaps browned.  Gently turn everything over, baste with any liquid in the pan, and cook for 20 minutes more.

Transfer the ingredients to a warm serving platter or to individual plates and using a sturdy wooden or silicone spoon, scrape up the cooking sugars sticking to the bottom of the pan.  You might want to pour a few spoonfuls of water into the pan to help you nab the sugars and make a spare amount of sauce.  Season the endive with salt and pepper, spoon over the jus, and serve.  Serves 2 to 4.

Printable recipe

10 responses to “Endives, Apples and Grapes; So Unexpectedly Delicious”

  1. Rita says:

    I really enjoyed knowing a little more of Alain Passard; I have heard of him before. What a lovely and original creation! just looking at this tells me it must be so tasty good.

  2. I love this dish, the idea of it, and I’m sure I’d love the reality, too. Thank you, Penny, and who knows? You might make it to the restaurant. But no. I agree! Very very dear.

  3. That looks wonderful Penny. I have never heard of braising grapes. What a great idea! See you tonight!

  4. marcia smith says:

    Too funny Penny- just back from a week in Paris and Lyon- when I recover from this jet lag I will post on my visit to Michelin 3 star restaurant Paul Bocuse’s L’Auberge du Pont de Collognes!!! You – of all people- should experience a restaurant of this caliber! Highlight of a great trip. Will definitely try this fabulous recipe! Will leave for Maine at the end of the week! Love all your posts 🙂

  5. Lyla says:

    I agree that you should experience the restaurant and have a feeling that David has already scored a reservation. The recipe looks perfect for summer. Thanks so much and have a magical time in The City of Lights.

  6. Lorrie says:

    Oh, this does sound good, and different. The sweet and bitter would combine beautifully.

  7. We love all the ingredients but I would have never thought to put them together. I can only imagine how well this would pair with pork!
    I can’t wait to surprise and delight guests.


  8. Mary says:

    I really love the way this looks and sounds. I have to give this one a try. Have a great weekend. Blessings…Mary

  9. Velva says:

    Wow, I love the combination of flavors here…This is a serious appetizer. Guests would marvel at this creation.


  10. Barbara says:

    Nice write up about Alain Passard, Penny. And a fabulous recipe. Super healthy ingredients with delicious flavors!
    (Our final game-changer week after next is Julie Powell from Julie and Julia. I made Julia Child’s braised endive. I love the slight bitterness of endive. Wish it weren’t so expensive!)

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