Crisp, refreshing and pleasantly bitter, endive leaves make the perfect palette for herbed cream cheese reminiscent of classic Green Goddess salad dressing. These leaves make an easy, light appetizer for New Year’s Eve and other celebrations accompanied by a glass of Champagne or sparkling wine.
Green Goddess Flavors of Herbs and Lemon
When I’m catering parties and my clients want a crudites platter, I pair it with my version of Green Goddess dip. This time, I’ve made it a bit thicker, using low-fat cream cheese as the base. What’s not to like about a dip bursting with the bright flavors of fresh herbs and lemon?
Packed with fresh tarragon, parsley, dill, chives, and a little lemon, pipe the filling into the leaves for an elegant presentation. If you can find chervil, that’s good too. For easier, more casual presentation, spoon it into a bowl to use as a dip for the leaves and add whole grain crackers.
If you’ve never tried endive, here’s your opportunity. Prized around the world, endive is the elegant member of the chicory family. This family includes escarole and curly endive, most often used for salad greens.
Endive is difficult to grow, going through a two-step growth process. There’s interesting information on the Discover Endive website. It’s not only pretty, coming in both red and white colors, but it’s really good for you! For buying and storage tips, read here.
Then and Now
Green Goddess was popular from the 1920’s through the 1980’s then practically disappeared after the advent of Ranch dressing. Some say the original was created by a chef at San Francisco’s Palace Hotel, named for a hit 1920’s play. Some say it heralds back to the chef for French King Louis XIII.
Either way, the flavors work great for how we eat today. You could even spread it on bread for a terrific turkey sandwich. Try it with endive leaves for an elegant New Year’s Eve appetizer or for any party.
Endive Leaves with Green Goddess Cream
Yield: about 1 1/2 cups of filling or dip
- 8 ounces (216 grams) low fat cream cheese
- 1 tablespoon (13 grams) finely chopped shallot
- 1/4 cup light sour cream
- 1/4 cup Vegenaise (or mayonnaise)
- Zest from one small lemon
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons (10 grams) fresh chopped tarragon
- 2 tablespoons (10 grams) fresh chopped dill (plus extra for garnish if desired)
- 2 tablespoons (10 grams) fresh chopped Italian parsley
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped chives
- 1/2 teaspoon anchovy paste, add more if desired (optional, but provides a depth of flavor)
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 4-6 heads Belgian endive, white or green tipped
- In a medium bowl, mix all ingredients together until smooth with a wire whisk, silicone spatula or large spoon. Refrigerate until needed. Taste and adjust to your preferences. It’s best made a few hours or a day ahead as the flavors have time to meld and develop.
- When well chilled, place filling into a piping bag with a star or French tip. Trim the stem end of the endive leaves and carefully peel the leaves off of the base of the head so you have individual leaves. Place on a platter and fill from the piping bag. Alternatively, spoon the filing into a small bowl or ramekin and serve the endive leaves and crackers around it for guests to help themselves.
Other links and information:
Discover Endive, always in season grown in California. Great information on endive. Check it out.
Star or French tips (with a nice photo showing them) and baking supplies on the web at The Ultimate Baker
18″ disposable piping bags, on Amazon
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