Belgian Endive with Asiago Cream and Mini Heirloom Tomatoes

Picture this scenario:

It’s 6:30pm. You’re headed home from work, racing towards the bus station. The phone rings.

It’s your girlfriend ecstatic about “Friendsgiving” at her place this weekend. You’d smile if you weren’t panting. She mentioned who was bringing food and what she still needed.

No surprise, she asks what appetizer you’re bringing to the table this year.

Sound the alarm—not because you forgot. No. Too many parties huddled together this year, doesn’t leave much time for the traditional bake-athon. So you’re left praying for a miracle.

People…this is it!

Belgian endive, the conical shaped kind, pronounced ‘on-deev’, is crisp, refreshing and surprisingly delicious when topped with asiago cream.

Speaking of surprises. Everything has a history, and so does this little vegetable. In 1830, a Belgian farmer, Jan Lammers, had stumbled upon it after returning from war.  He went to check on his old chicory roots in the cellar, which back in the day, were used as a coffee substitute. There he discovered white leaves growing from the roots. Curious as he was, he took a few bites and liked them.  By 1870, endive was a hit in Paris and beyond—giving birth to its nickname, “white gold”.

This recipe may look fancy but it is anything but frustrating to make, so give it a try. You, your friends and family will be so happy you did!

Notes:

  1. How to clean Belgian endive : Simply wipe the outside leaves with a damp cloth. No washing required, since endive is grown in sand, not dirt.
  2. When cutting endive, use a stainless steel knife. Carbon knives cause discoloration of the leaves.
  3. Do not over fill the endives with Asiago cream. Asiago, as in true Asiago produced in the Veneto Region of Italy, has varying flavor dependent upon type and age. For this recipe I used an Asiago Mezzano and a whipped cream cheese to balance out the sweetish taste. If you can’t find an Italian Asiago, but rather a similar Wisconsin cheese, just know that the taste is even spicier. With that said, add the Wisconsin cheese gradually into the cream cheese.  Mix it well and occasionally taste to achieve the right flavor.
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About Chef

LifeisaBowlofPasta

For Founder and Food Blogger, Jo Ann Tartaglia, there is more to food than what we see on our plates. "It not only feeds the body, but nourishes the soul ...

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