Cherry and Pecan Stuffed Endive
I always enjoy a cocktail party menu that has variety but is still functional. I think it is slightly cruel to ask your guests to stand for a few hours and have appetizers that clearly require silverware. Instead of enjoying a night of fun and conversation, you are constantly fumbling around trying to simultaneously eat some food and not spill all over the front of your dress. Have you ever been to an event like this? It makes me crazy! So when thinking of this menu, I wanted to make sure that all of the appetizers were very easy to eat standing and mingling.
Even a night of love and indulgence needs a dish that lightens up the menu a bit, and that is why I chose this stuffed endive recipe. It has everything you could want it a salad, but is perfectly contained in a leaf of crisp endive. I tossed homemade spicy pecans, sweet dried cherries, and French feta with a champagne vinaigrette. Simple, easy, but still elegant. This was my first time using French feta, which my mom passed onto me after finding it in a Middle Eastern market (random, I know). French feta is the creamiest and least salty of the feta varieties. It has a similar taste to goat cheese, but more is a little more crumbly. The cheese adds a great richness to the dish without overdoing it.
- 1 head of endive, stem removed and leaves cleaned
- ½ cup pecans, roughly chopped
- 1 tbs brown sugar
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- ½ tsp sea salt
- ⅓ heaping cup French feta or goat cheese
- ½ cup dried cherries
- 3 tbs champagne vinegar
- 2 tbs vegetable oil
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- juice of ½ lemon
- salt and pepper to taste
- Make the vinaigrette by whisking the vinegar, mustard, and lemon juice together. Add the olive oil in a steady stream and whisk to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.
- Make the spicy pecans by heating a sauce pan over medium heat. Add the pecans, brown sugar, cayenne, and salt to the pan. Cook until the pecans are toasted and candied. Remove and cool.
- Make the endive by sprinkling a scant tablespoon of the pecans, cherries, and feta into each of the leaves. Arrange on a platter for easy handheld pickup. Lightly drizzle the dressing over the leaves and serve chilled to room temperature.