Belgian Endive with Walnuts and Blue Cheese

Margie Bruner - Glory Kitchenby: Margie Bruner, owner of Glory Kitchen
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I’ve always thought little Belgian endives were so delicately shaped and make a pretty and graceful presentation.  This Belgian Endive with Walnuts and Blue Cheese Recipe is wonderfully flavorful and uniquely different – it would make a great first course at a dinner party.  When these little lettuces are baked in the oven, the tender and somewhat bitter endive leaves turn a buttery, salty flavor, a bit like the flavor of a steamed artichoke dipped in butter.  The blue cheese, walnut pieces, and Provence nut & spice mix add a nutty crunch and a sharp note of herbaceous flavor which together with the buttery endive create a mouth watering combination.

Belgian endive is a bitter lettuce from the chicory genus.  It has a small, torpedo-like shape, white inner leaves and either yellow or red ruffled tips.  In this recipe I’ve used both the red and the yellow tipped varieties although the baking fades away a bit of the bright colorations you see when left raw.  Sliced in half and baked, the bitter leaves mellow in flavor and lose some of their crisp quality.  Another way to use Belgian endive is to separate the leaves and stuff the inside cavity with tuna salad or creamy egg salad.

This Belgian Endive with Walnuts and Blue Cheese Recipe was a pleasant surprise because it is such a diversion from your typical salad flavors.  I served it directly on small salad plates as a first course to our meal but you could add a few delicate greens such as arugula or bibb lettuce to the base and place these endive halves right on top.  Hope you’ll try this uniquely flavorful recipe.

Belgian Endive with Walnuts and Bluecheese

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon Provence nut & spice mix
  • 6 Belgian Endives
  • 1/8 cup clarified butter (ghee), melted
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 blue cheese, crumbled
  • salt & pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°. In a small bowl, toss together chopped walnuts, blue cheese crumbles and 1 teaspoon of Provence nut & spice mix. Mix well with your hands and then set this aside to use as a topping later.
  2. Carefully trim the endive, was and dry with a paper towel. Slice each bundle in half, lengthwise. Lay them in a baking dish, cut side up, and then drizzle with the melted ghee. Using your hands, gently ruby each endive half so the clarified butter coats it completely. Sprinkle them with salt and pepper then cover the baking dish with foil and place into the oven for 30 minutes.
  3. Remove the endive from the oven, uncover the foil, add the cheese/walnut topping onto each endive half. Place back into the oven, uncovered, for about 8-10 more minutes. At the very end, turn the oven on broil and stand by for about 1-2 minutes so the nuts will lightly brown and the blue cheese is melted. Remove and serve warm or allow to cool slightly and serve at room temperature. These are buttery delicious and would work in place of a salad at the dinner table.

Belgian Endive with Walnuts and Blue cheese - Glory Kitchen
Belgian Endive with Walnuts and Blue cheese - Glory Kitchen
Belgian Endive with Walnuts and Blue cheese - Glory Kitchen
Belgian Endive with Walnuts and Blue cheese - Glory Kitchen
Belgian Endive with Walnuts and Blue cheese - Glory Kitchen