Have you tried cooking with endive at home? It’s a leafy green that, believe it or not, belongs to the daisy family. I see it occasionally in restaurants, but don’t often see home cooks using it. Belgian endive can be found in most larger grocery stores. It kind of looks like a very small, very tight, white and yellow head of Romaine lettuce. While it can certainly be chopped up to add a bitter accent to a mixed green salad, the boat shape of the leaves practically screams “throw a party!” and “fill me with something fun and colorful!”
Being the Italian-grandma-at-heart that I am, no party is complete without antipasto (a selection of cured meats, cheese, olives and complementary vegetables). Here, instead of a formally arranged antipasto platter, I’ve tossed it all together to use as a filling for endive leaves.
You can use whatever types of antipasto elements you like best for this appetizer. I included salami, marinated artichoke hearts, colorful olives, and lots of other goodies. Choosing a great cheese is important for these Antipasto Salad Endive Boats, so I went with Stella Fontinella® cheese, which is delicately sweet and creamy smooth, with just a hint of sharpness (Fontinella is also my cheese of choice for my Corn Casserole with Cheese).
- 1 package (5 ounces) Stella Fontinella cheese, cut into ½-inch cubes
- 1/2 medium cucumber, cut into ½-inch pieces
- 4 ounces hard salami, cut into ½-inch pieces
- 4 ounces quartered and marinated artichoke hearts, drained
- 1/2 cup assorted pitted olives
- 1/2 cup grape tomatoes, halved
- 2 tablespoons capers, drained
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 3 heads Belgian endive
- In medium bowl, toss cheese, cucumber, salami, artichoke hearts, olives, tomatoes, capers, basil, oil and pepper until well combined.
- Wash and separate leaves from core of each endive head. Serve endive leaves alongside antipasto mixture.