Saturday, September 29, 2018

Belgian Endive with Roquefort, Walnuts and Cranberries, by Chef David Vartanian

Way back in 2011, I introduced Christine Vartanian-Datian to the readers of The Armenian Kitchen. In the story I mentioned that Christine’s love of cooking was passed down from her grandmother and mother. Another family member, Christine’s cousin, David Vartanian, also inherited the ‘cooking gene’. He is a highly regarded chef  at The Vintage Press in Visalia, CA.

 David Vartanian ,The Vintage Press, Visalia, CA, named one of America’s Best Chefs

I haven’t been to the Fresno, CA area in almost 50 years (yikes!), but if I ever do get back there, I will certainly pay a visit to Chef Vartanian’s restaurant. (Please read the full details below.)

Christine offered the following recipe from Chef David for The Armenian Kitchen to share. Please enjoy!  
Chef David's Belgian Endive with Roquefort, Walnuts and Cranberries

Chef David Vartanian's Belgian Endive with Roquefort, Walnuts and Cranberries
This salad with crunchy walnuts is for real blue cheese lovers.  Pair with a grilled steak or lamb chops and boiled baby red skin potatoes for a classic steak house meal.
Serves 4.
Ingredients for Roquefort Dressing:
1/4 cup Roquefort cheese
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup buttermilk
2 limes, juice of
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
Pinch black pepper

Ingredients for Salad:
4 heads Belgian endive
1/2 cup cranberries, dried
1/2 cup California walnuts, coarsely chopped
4 ounces Roquefort cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup Roquefort dressing, prepared

Preparation for Roquefort dressing:
1. Melt Roquefort cheese in the oven or in a pan on top of the stove, being very careful not to scorch. Let cool.
2. In a bowl, combine the melted cheese, mayonnaise, buttermilk, juice of two limes, Worcestershire Sauce, cayenne, red wine vinegar, and black pepper; mix well until all ingredients are combined. If desired, add an additional 2 ounces of Roquefort cheese for an even more intense flavor.

Salad Preparation:
1. Trim the base of the endive using a diagonal cut, then separate the leaves.
2. Toss the cranberries, nuts and Roquefort together in a bowl, being careful not to break up the Roquefort too much.
3. Spoon the mixture into the endive leaves and garnish with the watercress.  For advance preparation: Fill the Belgian endive leaves up to three hours before, cover and chill.  Garnish just before serving.  Drizzle with Roquefort Salad Dressing, as desired.  

The Vintage Press Restaurant, in Visalia, California is one of Central California's most elegant dining experiences. Since 1966, the Vartanian family has welcomed local residents, visitors and dignitaries alike on many special occasions.  Wine Spectator writes that the Vintage Press has "one of the best wine lists in the world," while Fodor's raves it is "The best restaurant in the Central Valley.”  The L.A. Times applauds the Vintage Press as "a bastion of culinary merit."  With four distinctive rooms and classic menus that reflect the current season, the Vintage Press invites you to join them at your earliest opportunity. The Vintage Press is renowned for its outstanding food and service.  Critics believe this is the best restaurant in the Sequoia region and a true fine-dining experience, with white tablecloths, plush red leather banquettes and exceptional service.  The Vintage Press serves classic beef, lamb, seafood and specialty dishes. The exceptional menu encompasses a wide range of influences, meaning you could order the excellent lamb kebobs while your companion feasts on spicy chile relleno.  Classic American dishes and pastas are well done, especially the restaurant’s famed filet mignon. The wine list is similarly superlative. 

"Best Place in Visalia!”

“The VP, as it's commonly called, is the finest restaurant in Visalia. The food is always amazing. The service is impeccable. And the atmosphere provides an elegant feeling. Outstanding restaurant!”
- Trip Advisor, 2016

"A Favorite for Everyone”
“This fine dining establishment is a favorite for everyone in the area as well as for many who drive long distances to enjoy a fabulous meal. You can't go wrong whether you choose from the menu or from the always interesting list of specials for the day. The chef, David Vartanian, should have a TV show about farm to table ingredients as well as unusual takes on the familiar. From comfort food to exotic fare, he is a master.”
- Trip Advisor, 2017
216 N. Willis St.
Visalia, CA 93291
Phone: (559) 733-3033
Featuring upscale, classic cuisine with a creative twist and farm to table sensibility.
Open for Lunch, Dinner or Sunday Brunch.

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