Monday, January 21, 2013

Belgian Endive Leaves with Roquefort, Grapes, and Radishes

Friday was Ryan's birthday, and instead of the typical dinner out I decided to make a romantic dinner at home. To start, I made Belgian endive leaves with Roquefort, grapes, and radishes from the "La Tartine Gourmande" cookbook {see her blog here, buy her book here}.  It turned out absolutely amazing if I do say so myself!
Belgian endive leaves with Roquefort, grapes, and radishes dressed in pistachio vinaigrette

When used as finger food, Belgian endive leaves make eye-catching bite-sized edible spoons.  The filling--tiny cubes of Roquefort, radishes, and grapes--is dressed up in a pistachio vinaigrette that blends harmoniously with the bitter taste of the salad.  In fact, whenever I decide to serve them, the most difficult part of the preparation is refraining from eating them.  If you've never used pistachio oil before, once you taste it here you'll wonder why you've never indulged.  

You'll need:

For the pistachio vinaigrette:
Sea salt and pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon aged balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons pistachio oil
1 tablespoon canola oil

For finger food:
2 Belgian endives
2 tablespoons shelled unsalted green pistachios, coarsely chopped
3/4 cup red grapes, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
6 pink radishes, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
3oz Roquefort cheese, crumbled
Dill, to decorate

  • To prepare the vinaigrette: In a small bowl, combine the ingredients in the order listed.  Whisk to emulsify: set aside.
  • Separate the endive leaves, choose the best-looking ones {they shouldn't be too big} and wash them.  Pat them dry with a clean kitchen towel and place them on a large service plate.
  • Combine the pistachios, grapes, and radishes in a bowl.  Add the cheese crumbles and toss gently.  Season with the vinaigrette.
  • Place a heaping teaspoon of this mixture inside each endive leaf and top with a sprinkle of pistachios and a piece of dill.  It's a good idea to have extra endive handy, should you prefer the shape of the leaves or if you need more.  You'll be happy to snack on whatever is left!

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