Another tip of the hat to master chef Jacques Pépin for culinary technique: this time, a simple and flawless method that turns raw endives from crisp and crunchy to silky and tender.
Mr. Pépin's recipe for skillet endives can be found in his recent cookbook Fast Food My Way, where he describes the technique as an alternative to a more traditional method of involving boiling and then sautéing the endives. He notes that skipping the boiling step also concentrates their subtle flavor.
While Mr. Pépin suggests cooking the endives whole, I split them lengthwise. I otherwise stuck closely to his instructions. After heating a non-stick pan with olive oil and butter, I added the endives, sprinkled them with sugar and salt, and let them cook, covered, over low temperature, turning them occasionally. Thirty minutes later, the endives were soft, caramelized, and faintly sweet.
Remove the cover, crank up the heat to reduce and evaporate any remaining liquid released by the endives, and serve immediately.