Fig and Blue Cheese Endive Boats

For a fun and easy fall appetizer, look no further than these sweet and funky fig and blue cheese endive boats.  Layered with textures from the crisp endive, delicate figs, and crunchy walnuts, this light snack is seasonal yet unexpected.  The powerful blue cheese keeps the sweetness from the walnuts, figs, and honey grounded.  Give your guests what they won’t expect and pair these with an equally surprising wine – try a sparkling rose from Slovenia.  No one will be calling you a Basic Pumpkin Spice B*tch this season.

Fig, blue cheese, candied walnut, and honey in endives

The Dish

Not only do I love this recipe for the interesting layer of flavors and textures, but it also takes half a second to put together.  It’s the perfect move to maximize your guests’ impressions while minimizing time and effort.  No heat, no cooking, no wait time.  Any kitchen novice can pull this one off, but it will come off as a very thoughtful aperitivo before your meal.

Fig, blue cheese, candied walnut, and honey in endives

You can get creative by swapping the fig for any seasonal fruit du jour.  Dried cranberries,  crisp red apple, or even medjool dates – put your own spin on this recipe by opting for your favorite component alternatives.  Not huge on walnuts but love pecans?  Forget the candied walnuts and opt for candied pecans.  Easy.  I’ve explored many combinations, and landed on my own favorite with the figs and the walnuts

As far as the cheese goes, stick with the blue – it may seem counter-intuitive but the danker the cheese, the better it pairs with sweet components (i.e. the fig, candied nuts, and honey).  Trying to use a milder cheese here will result in a way-to-sweet appetizer that lacks balance.   

The Wine

Keep people on their toes and serve these endive boats with a wine they’ve maybe never heard of or had before. Choose a sparkling rosé from Slovenia, or even take this opportunity to dabble in some slightly sweeter, off-dry wines – a perfect choice being the sweet French white Sauternes. I happened to have the aforementioned Slovenian bottle of sparkling on hand. Dry, bubbly, and a beautiful shade of pink, this rosé has an unusual hit of lime that makes it such a fun bottle that will no doubt spark conversation.

Sparkling rose from Slovenia
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Fig and Blue Cheese Endive Boats

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: Appetizer, Main Course, Salad, Side Dish, Snack
  • Cuisine: American, French

Description

Fig, blue cheese, candied walnuts, and clover honey on multi-color endives make for a funky vegetarian appetizer that is seasonal yet slightly unexpected alternative to pumpkin-spice-everything.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 4 bulbs endives ((get both purple and green for aesthetics))
  • 6 whole figs
  • candied walnuts
  • blue cheese
  • clover honey
  • black pepper

Instructions

  1. Carefully peel leaves from the endive bulbs. The best endive leaves are firm and will pack a satisfying crunch. You want the large to medium sized leaves for this recipe. As they get smaller towards the center of the bulb, they’ll become softer and too small to hold each component.
  2. Pack each endive “boat” (the leaves resemble little boats, no?) with some blue cheese. Maybe half a tablespoon, depending on the size of each leaf. Use your judgement to get the right ratios.
  3. Slice figs into medallions, and then slice again down the middle of each medallion so you have little half-moon shapes. These will fit easily in each endive.
  4. Add a candied walnut or two to each boat.
  5. Finally, drizzle some clover honey over your endives and a quick grind of fresh pepper. Serve with wine before a main meal, or as an after dinner snack.

Keywords: fig, blue cheese, candied walnuts, endives, honey, sparkling rose, rose wine, vegetarian wine pairing, slovenian wine

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