I was first introduced to this light and refreshing appetizer about ten years ago (thanks, Auntie R), and I have been making it ever since. The stuffed endives look elegant, and they are a breeze to make. They’re perfect to serve at dinner parties since all the components may be prepped ahead of time and then quickly assembled right before guests arrive.
This appetizer is very versatile, so use the recipe more as guide, substituting ingredients depending on what’s in season or what you have on hand. For instance, substitute blue cheese and pears or figs for the goat cheese and blood oranges for another delicious combination. Or, instead of chives, garnish with microgreens, which are packed with even more nutrients than their large-sized counterparts.
Best of all, since endives are used as the base of the appetizers instead of crackers or crostinis, they are naturally gluten-free!
This recipe is a delightful contrast of flavors and textures – from the sweet and crunchy walnuts, crisp, slightly bitter endives, and smooth and tangy goat cheese, to the syrupy sweet and sour balsamic and blood orange reduction. Use white balsamic vinegar to preserve the beautiful crimson color of the blood oranges, which compliments the vibrancy of the microgreens and endives nicely. The eye-catching bright colors of the dish add the festive touch that your guests will surely appreciate.
Endive Stuffed with Goat Cheese, Blood Orange, and Walnuts
Yields 8 servings
1/3 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
2 tablespoons honey, divided
1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons blood orange juice
16 Belgian endive leaves from about 3 heads (larger leaves work better for stuffing)
8 ounces goat cheese, or less, to taste
16 small blood orange sections or supremes (from about 3 blood oranges)
microgreens or chives, as needed, for garnish
freshly ground black pepper
Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
Combine walnuts and 1 tablespoon honey and spread on a baking sheet lined with a silicone mat (Silpat). Bake for 10 minutes, stirring after 5 minutes.
Combine the balsamic vinegar, blood orange juice and the remaining tablespoon of honey in a small saucepan. Bring mixture to a boil over high heat, and reduce to 3 tablespoons, about 5-6 minutes.
Spread about 2 teaspoons of goat cheese on the bottom of each endive leaf. Top goat cheese with 2 orange sections and 1 teaspoon walnuts and drizzle with the balsamic and blood orange reduction. Garnish with microgreens and freshly ground black pepper.
Adapted from Cooking Light, September 2001
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