The poor Belgian endive gets little love. You know it, right? Crunchy, crispy, slightly bitter?
Yeah, thought so.
Anyway, this appetizer was inspired by a tapa I had at Jaleo. Crunchy, creamy, toasty, sweet, and tart—it’s a wonderful contradiction of flavors worth a little splurge. Not too heavy, and eaten with the hands, this might just be the perfect starter for your Valentine’s Day dinner.
-2 clementines, peeled and separated into segments
-6-8 endive leaves, carefully separated and rinsed
-1 small (4 oz.) log fresh goat cheese (e.g., Chevre)
-5-6 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
-2-3 Tbsp. honey
-1/2 c. pecans, toasted and broken into pieces
1. Reduce the vinegar by half in a saucepan, then whisk in the honey. You want to end up with a sweet-tart sauce of drizzle-able consistency.
2. Fan out the endive leaves on a serving plate.
3. Starting at the tip of each leaf, alternate 1/2 tsp. goat cheese with clementine segments. Repeat until the “boat” is filled with cheese and clementines. Top each piece of cheese with a toasted pecan. Repeat until all the endive leaves are filled.
4. Drizzle boats with honey-balsamic reduction and serve immediately.
Note: if you and your sweetie decide to linger over Champagne (or more realistically, one of you gets caught up buying last-minute roses at CVS) you can prepare this recipe ahead through step #3, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and keep chilled. Pull out a few minutes before serving and dress with the balsamic right before enjoying.
Photo credit: thenibble.com