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.
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!
Belgian Endive with Roquefort, Walnuts and Cranberries
Ingredients for Roquefort Dressing:
- ¼ cup Roquefort cheese (crumbled)
- ¾ cup mayonnaise
- ⅓ cup buttermilk
- 2 limes (juiced)
- ½ tsp. Worcestershire sauce
- 1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
- ⅛ tsp. cayenne pepper
- 1 pinch black pepper
Ingredients for Salad:
- 4 heads Belgian endive
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- ½ cup California walnuts (coarsely chopped)
- 4 oz. Roquefort cheese (coarsely crumbled)
- ½ cup Roquefort dressing (As prepared for this recipe)
- watercress (for garnish, optional)
Preparation for Roquefort dressing:
- Melt Roquefort cheese in the oven or in a pan on top of the stove, being very careful not to scorch. Let cool.
- 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 a more intense flavor.
- Trim the base of the endive using a diagonal cut, then separate the leaves. Rinse and pat dry with paper towels.
- Toss the cranberries, nuts and Roquefort together in a bowl, being careful not to break up the Roquefort too much.
- Spoon the mixture into the endive leaves and garnish with the watercress, if using.
- 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.
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.
and farm to table sensibility.