During the Christmas and New Year’s holiday season, having a unique and easy go-to appetizer is a life saver and a time saver. Endive Leaves Filled with Parmesan, Fontina, and Toasted Walnuts is one such recipe. The individual handheld appetizer goes beyond the ordinary cheese plate, chips and dip or crudité and hummus.
The combination of ingredients and the presentation set this appetizer apart. Salty Parmesan and mellow fontina cheeses are accompanied by nutty toasted walnuts and crunch bits of celery. The filling is enrobed in a light and tangy dressing featuring lemon juice and Dijon mustard. The endive leaf serves as an edible spoon with a dollop of the cheese filling nestled in its curved base. When purchasing the mildly bitter endive, look for large heads that are white at the base and gradually turn to light yellow on the tip.
The filling for the appetizer and the endive leaves can be prepped up to a day in advance. Store the filling in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Wash the endive leaves, trim the ends, wrap in paper towels and store in a resealable bag in the crisper drawer.
When ready to serve, fill the bottom end with about a tablespoon of the cheese filling. I like to arrange the leaves in concentric circles on a large round platter. Mound any remaining filling in the center of the dish.
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- ¼-pound piece of Parmesan, diced in ⅛-inch pieces, about 1 cup
- ⅛-pound piece of Fontina, diced in ⅛-inch pieces, about ½ cup
- ½ cup finely chopped celery
- 1 cup walnuts, toasted lightly and chopped fine
- ¼ cup finely chopped fresh flat-leafed parsley leaves
- 4 Belgian endives, separated into leaves and trimmed
- In a bowl whisk together garlic powder, mayonnaise, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, and extra virgin olive oil. Stir in Parmesan, Fontina, celery, walnuts, and parsley.
- To assemble a large flower design, spoon about one tablespoon of salad onto the bottom end of each endive leaf. Arrange around the edge of a round platter with pointed tips outward. Add a second, smaller layer on top of the first, starting so each leaf of the second layer is between two leaves of the bottom layer. Mound remaining salad in the middle, plunging in a third even tighter circle of endive leaves if desired.
© 2016 amycaseycooks