Although a common ingredient in the kitchens of Belgium and France, endive did not reach the mainstream in America until the 1970s, when it became a popular addition to salads. Now, you might recognize the miniature leaves of the compact heads as tender, crisp greenery used as a garnish or a salad addition in restaurants. Endive are inexpensive, so they’re a popular way to spruce up an otherwise simple hors d’oeuvres or entrees.
The first time you see endive, you might very well be uncertain as to what exactly you’re supposed to do with it. Generally, endive has a crisp texture while its flavor ranges from sweet to bitter. It’s most common in the winter months in the U.S. but most grocery stores stock it year round.
Because endive is still not as common as some of its leafy green cousins, it’s a fun ingredient to pair with some other less-common market finds.. Smoked trout is something that rarely appears on menus, in favor of more common sea dwellers like smoked salmon.
Smoked trout has long been a favorite of fine cuisine aficionados. Originally, people smoked trout and other kinds of fish to preserve it to keep longer. Now, people smoke it because it’s pretty freaking tasty and this is only one way to serve it in an elegant, delicious hors d’oeuvres.
- ¼ cup mayonnaise
- 6 green onions, including 1 inch of the tender green portions, thinly sliced
- 2 small garlic cloves, minced
- 1½ tsp. fresh lemon juice
- ⅛ tsp. cayenne pepper
- ½ tsp. sweet paprika
- Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 1½ cups flaked smoked trout fillet
- 4 heads Belgian endive
- Lemon wedges for serving
- In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, green onions, garlic, lemon juice, cayenne, paprika, salt and pepper. Mix well. Add the trout and stir to combine.
- Cut off the base from each endive and separate the heads into individual spears. Use only the larger endive spears; reserve the smaller ones for another use.
- Spread one to two teaspoons of the trout mixture onto the thicker end of each endive spear. Arrange on a platter and garnish with lemon wedges. Serve immediately.