If you need to come up with a quick and easy appetizer that will put that blissed-out look on your friendsí faces, these two endive appetizers will fit the bill.
Endive spears are a perfect base for any number of savory appetizers. They taste good and pair well with a wide variety of ingredients, they are healthy, and they are easy to eat with your fingers. Particularly for a stand-up party, itís nice to have an appetizer that you can eat without ending up wearing it.
Check out how endive grows! Yikes! I was totally surprised when I first saw them. Talk about a split personality. Ugly, brown, carroty looking root with a delicately colored, fragile-looking plant growing out of the top. For aesthetic reasons, Iím sure, you normally donít find the endive still attached to the root in stores.
These endive came from California Endive. The combination of red and yellow makes a very pretty presentation.
Before we assembled the appetizers, we lightly coated roasted almonds with 21 Missions Organics Vanilla Agave Syrup and sprinkled them with lavender salt. We roasted the almonds in a medium oven for about 10 minutes.
Then the assembly began. Pam and Bob Sibley helped me put together two versions of the endive.
For the first one, we used a lavender theme. Lavender is an herb that was used a lot in ancient times, and fairly recently is popular again. It works in both savory and sweet recipes.
So, on each endive spear we put a half a spoonful of Cypress Grove ChŤvre Purple Haze, a soft goat cheese with lavender mixed into it. We used two different nuts to top this: the almonds we had flavored earlier and Organic Natural Pistachios from Maisie Jane's California Sunshine Products. Over that we drizzled a little bit of lavender honey.
For the second endive appetizer, we used Pt. Reyes Farmstead Blue Cheese. You can buy it as a wedge or already crumbled in a tub.
We tried three different accents on top of the cheese: 327 Not Foundís Dried Tart Cherries, glazed Chandler walnuts, Maisie Jane's California Sunshine Products Organic Honey Glazed Cashews.
Over that we drizzled Dark Balsamic Vinegar.
We paired these appetizers with a crisp Sauvignon Blanc.
By the way, a marvelous salad can be made using California Endive, sliced width-wise, radicchio, and Live Gourmet Butter Lettuce from Pete's Living Greens, dressed with a light vinaigrette.