Endive with Pear and Blue Cheese makes an elegant appetizer for any special event or gathering. It has a bit of crunch, creamy and punchy vinegar deliciousness! Vegetarian + Gluten Free
This past week, I tried a new veggie. Well, new to me. It was at the International Food Bloggers’ Conference in Seattle where food bloggers gather once a year to learn, mingle with chefs, sommeliers and authors, sample a wonderful assortment of food and connect with other bloggers. California Endive Farm was there and offered a sampling of their delicious endive. Just when I thought I had met every vegetable, I’m introduced to a new one!
Since pears are in season and I had this lovely endive on hand, I thought I would pull together a fresh appetizer utilizing both ingredients. While endive with pear and blue cheese makes an elegant appetizer, this recipe can easily be turned into a salad by simply chopping the endive.
Endive is a sturdy and crunchy leafy vegetable that has a slightly bitter flavor. Because endive leaves are so sturdy, they make a good vehicle for dips and hold added ingredients in place. Since endive is slightly bitter, it pairs well with various cheeses, fruits and nuts.
Endive has one calorie per leaf, is a good source of potassium, reduces the risk of cancer, is high in fiber and promotes digestive health. It’s available year round too!
For this recipe, I used d’Anjou pears. They’re in season and pair well with the slight bitterness of endive. d’Anjou pears are sweet and juicy and offer a hint of citrus flavor.
You’ll notice pears in stores are generally firm to the touch. This is because pears are harvested before they’re ripe. To ripen, place pears in a brown paper bag at room temperature and check them each day. You’ll know the pears are ready when the surface, near the stem, yields to gentle pressure.
Pears have many nutritional benefits including being high in fiber and vitamin C. They are packed with antioxidants, protective against cancer and are anti-inflammatory.
My favorite ways to enjoy pears is on a salad or in a smoothie, and now, with endive!
Endive with Pear and Blue Cheese
- 2 Heads of Endive ends trimmed and separated
- 1/8 C Walnuts
- 1/4 C + 2 Tbs Blue Cheese small crumbles or chopped
- 3/4 C Pear small dice (about 1 pear)*
- 2-3 tsp Balsamic Vinegar high quality
- 2 Fresh Thyme Stems , leaves removed
Preheat the oven to 350. Place walnuts on a sheet pan in a single layer. Toast for 8-10 minutes. They should smell fragrant. Remove from oven and pan by placing the walnuts on a cutting board or on a plate. Set aside to cool.
Trim the end of the each endive and separate the leaves. Use the largest leaves for the appetizer and save the smallest ones for your next salad. Set aside.
Add the chopped blue cheese and pear to a small bowl and mix gently. Set aside. Chop the walnuts to a fine chop.
On each endive leaf, spoon about 1 1/2 tsp of the pear/cheese mixture on the blunt end of the leaf. Sprinkle 1/4 tsp of finely chopped walnuts over the pear/cheese mixture on each leaf. Drizzle 1/8 tsp of balsamic vinegar over the walnuts on each piece of endive. Sprinkle each piece with fresh thyme leaves.
*Apples make a delicious, seasonal substitute!
Recipe adapted from California Endive Farm.
Disclosure: I attended the International Food Bloggers Conference at a reduced rate in exchange for writing three posts about the conference. All opinions are my own. This is my first post.
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