Winter Endive Boats

Endives and radishes are two vegetables I will always associate with living in France.  Neither were foods I ate regularly prior to living in Paris, but both were abundant in the French markets during winter and early spring.  

While endives are only occasionally eaten in the US, in France they are as common as any other salad green.  They are earthy, bitter and wonderfully crisp, kind of like grown up iceberg lettuce.

Winter Endive Boats with Apples, Pears, Radishes and Blue Cheese

Radishes are also earthy but with no bitterness or acidity to speak of. The French eat radishes regularly – a common appetizer is simply radishes with sea salted butter, radis au beurre. I now love radishes as a snack like any other raw vegetable.

These winter endive boats combine both radishes and endives along with winter fruit and tangy blue cheese for an addictive but still healthy appetizer. Perfect for a party when you have an abundance of bread and cheese, but everyone seems to have forgotten fruits or vegetables (Confession: I am very guilty of this).

Winter Endive Boats with Apples, Pears, Radishes and Blue Cheese

Winter Endive Boats

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 cup chopped apples
    • I used honeycrips
  • 1 cup chopped pears
    • I used a mix of d’anjou and red pears
  • 1 cup chopped radishes
  • ⅓ cup crumbled blue cheese
  • 2-3 tbsp dried fruit
    • I use the golden berry mix from Trader Joe’s with raisins, cranberries, and blueberries
  • ¼ tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • ⅛ teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts

Winter Endive Boats with Apples, Pears, Radishes and Blue Cheese

These endive boats really couldn’t be easier to throw together.  The only caveat I’ll mention is the best thing about them is their texture – the crunch of the apples, radishes, walnuts, and endives are just perfect.  However, that crunch only stays around for so long so I don’t suggest making this ahead of time.  It only takes 10 minutes to chop everything up, so do it as close to serving time as possible.  Ready, go:

Start by chopping the apples, pears, and radishes, and crumbling the blue cheese.  Mix those along with the dried fruit together in a mixing bowl.

Winter Endive Boats with Apples, Pears, Radishes and Blue Cheese

Next, add the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper to the other ingredients and stir to combine.  Make sure you use white balsamic here, regular balsamic vinegar would give an unappetizing color to the endive boats.  If you can’t find white balsamic, you could add 1 tbsp lemon juice plus ½ tsp sugar instead.  Wait to mix in the walnuts until the very end in order to preserve their crunch.  

 

Winter Endive Boats with Apples, Pears, Radishes and Blue Cheese

Rinse the endives and cut off the root ends to release the leaves.  You’ll still need to break some of them off, just make sure there’s no gritty sand hiding between the leaves.  You can use both traditional white/yellow endives for this, or you can sometimes fine some beautiful purple endives as well.  Both make for excellent presentation.

Winter Endive Boats with Apples, Pears, Radishes and Blue Cheese

Finally, add the chopped walnuts to the rest of the endive boat filling and stir to combine.  Give it a little taste and adjust for any seasoning necessary.  Serve the filling in a bowl with the endive leaves scattered around and allow everyone to build their own endive boats.  I like to keep some extra blue cheese and dried fruit out on the table for people to add extra if they want.

   Bon appétit!

Winter Endive Boats

An elegant appetizer with crispy apples and radishes & endive leaves

Course Appetizer, Snack
Cuisine French
Prep Time 10 minutes
Servings 6 people as an appetizer

Ingredients

  • 1 cup chopped apples
  • 1 cup chopped pears
  • 1 cup chopped radishes
  • cup crumbled blue cheese
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts
  • 2-3 tbsp dried fruit
  • ¼ tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper

Instructions

  1. Chop the apples, pears, and radishes and combine with the blue cheese and dried fruit in a large mixing bowl 

  2. Add the white balsamic, salt, olive oil, and pepper to the bowl and mix to combine

  3. Clean the endive leaves and dry thoroughly

  4. Add the walnuts to the endive boat mixture and taste test for seasoning 

  5. Serve the filling alongside the endive leaves and allow everyone to make their own endive boats



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