Bitter Greens with Parmesan Custard, Brown Butter, and Hazelnuts
Chicories are the classic salad mix of Michigan winter. Here, a creamy parmesan custard, rich brown butter vinaigrette, and crunchy hazelnuts all stand up to bitter greens—and prove how decadent they can be.
- ¾ cup heavy cream divided
- ¼ cup whole milk divided
- ½ cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
- 1 clove garlic grated
- 1 egg plus 1 yolk
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cup butter 2 sticks
- 6 tablespoons lemon juice from about 2 lemons
- ¼ cup capers drained
- Sea salt to taste
- Granulated sugar to taste
- 3 cups chopped endive
- 3 cups chopped escarole
- 3 cups chopped frisée
- 3 cups chopped radicchio
- Mixed soft herbs whatever you have on hand, to garnish
- ½ cup whole hazelnuts toasted, to garnish
►CUSTARD: Heat oven to 325°F. Combine half the cream and half the milk in a saucepan with Parmigiano Reggiano and garlic. Bring to just below a simmer over medium heat and whisk until smooth.
►Combine egg and yolk with remaining cream and milk in a bowl and whisk until smooth. Arrange a medium baking dish inside a larger baking dish. Combine egg mixture with cheese mixture in prepared medium baking dish. Add bay leaf. Cover medium dish with foil. Pour hot water into larger dish until halfway full.
►Bake approximately 20 to 30 minutes, or until custard has set everywhere but the center, where it should still be jiggly. Cool custard to room temperature, then refrigerate, covered, until ready to use.
►VINAIGRETTE: Melt butter over medium heat in small saucepan until light brown and nutty-smelling. Remove from heat and cool slightly. Stir in lemon juice and capers, then season with salt and sugar to taste.
►GREENS: Toss chicories together in a large bowl. Dress with warm vinaigrette 10 minutes before serving.
►TO SERVE: Place a rounded tablespoon of custard in the center of each plate. Cover with dressed greens and garnish with herbs and hazelnuts.