Belgian Endive Citrus Boats
12 to 16 endive leaves, white ends neatly trimmed
1 grapefruit, peeled and sectioned, diced into bite size pieces
2 Cara Cara or blood oranges, peeled and sectioned, diced into bite size pieces
2 to 3 clementines, peeled and sectioned, diced into bite size pieces
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon fresh mint, cut chiffonade style
Bleu cheese crumbles
Fresh fennel, cut into thin strips (about 3 to 4 strips per boat)
½ cup walnuts, chopped into bite size pieces
Balsamic reduction to finish
Use a damp paper towel to wipe the endive head, then remove any wilted or brown leaves . Wait to trim the white ends until just before serving to prevent browning.
Place the diced citrus fruit in a medium bowl, and lightly drizzle with olive oil. Season with a light sprinkling of kosher salt and pepper, and gently toss just to combine.
Lay the endive leaves on a platter or individual plates. Fill each boat with an assortment of the diced citrus, then scatter the bleu cheese crumbles and chopped walnuts around the citrus. Place 3 to 4 fennel strips on top, then sprinkle with the fresh mint. To finish, drizzle balsamic reduction over each boat just before serving.
- Belgian endive contains intybin, a substance that can stimulate an appetite and aid in digestion, making this an ideal dish to serve as an appetizer or end-of-meal palate cleanser.
- Belgian endive browns quickly, so prepare boats just before serving.
- Extract the juice from the peel and sectioned fruit; save for later use in other recipes for cocktails or vinaigrette. May also be frozen for at least 2 months.
- Save and freeze the fennel stalk and fronds to use in stocks and soups.
- For a heartier appetizer, add strips of prosciutto or homemade bacon bits to each boat.
- For added spice, add finely chopped chives or thinly sliced red onion to each boat.
2 cups regular balsamic vinegar (not a high-end, aged variety)
Place the vinegar in a small saucepan and cook over high heat until it reaches a boil. Lower heat to a gentle simmer and cook until the vinegar has reduced by half, and a syrupy consistency is achieved, approximately 20 minutes. Transfer to a squeeze bottle, if available, and refrigerate for up to one month.