Most foods have a unitary spirit, a one defining trait or feeling or taste to offer.
This, however, is a dualistic food. Opposite, opposing forces are swirling around in these boats made from endive leaves and filled with browned mushrooms. Like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. But much less sinister. I hope.
Instead of a composition of good and evil, we have the mature and the jejune.
On the one hand, there is the fussy side, the prim side, the fancy side. Adult, perhaps. Stuffed leaves topped with just a bit of grated fennel and tarragon. Looking all elegant and handsome on a platter.
And yet they also have a fun and relaxed side. A child-like side. The side that enjoys serving the leaves separate from the mushrooms, especially on a lazy, sunny Wednesday afternoon. No fennel or tarragon needed. There is much delight to be had in taking a spoon and scooping the mushrooms into the leaves and pretending it is a boat. Then subsequently sailing it right into your mouth with its delicious mushrooms perked up with Herbs de Provence and sweetened with pomegranate juice.
Both sides mutually construct, mutually constitute each other. Defining themselves in opposition to each, i.e.- an adult is a non-child, and vice verse. Yet these are not so much mutually exclusive as they are twain - both being housed within each of us and within each of these boats. Depending on all the variables - the time of day, our mood, what was eaten for breakfast, etc., - each of these parts of us, the adult or the child can be accessed.
Just superficial differences separate the child from the adult here - a garnish, full assembly. But it makes the world of difference, I suppose.
Want some more ideas for using endive? Cooking Light has some fabulous salads like this one and this one to make good use of this vegetable!
2 heads of endive leaves, separated and rinsed
8 ounces cremini mushrooms, quartered
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon Herbs de Provence
freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons pomegranate juice
grated fennel, optional, for serving
tarragon, optional, for serving
Melt the butter and olive oil in a large sauté pan over high heat. Once the butter has melted and the bubbles in the mixture have started to subside, add the chopped mushrooms. Stir continuously, allowing the mushrooms to absorb the butter and oil mixture. After a few minutes, once the mushrooms have begun to brown and release their juices. Sprinkle with Herbes de Provennce, and dash of salt and freshly ground black pepper. Pour in the pomegranate juice. Take off heat and set aside.
If going the fancy route, spoon a bit of the mushroom mixture into each of the endive leaves and top each one with a small grating of fresh fennel and a tarragon leaf.