Time for a super easy appetizer. A little late for Friday's Happy Hour, but it is never too early to start planning for next weekend.
I prepared Parmesan and Toasted Walnut Salad in Endive for a wine tasting fundraiser for a local volunteer organization called Pass It Along. I did a test run of the recipe to make sure it was good before I served it to 125 people. I usually try a new recipe without testing it. But I decided that serving something I haven't tried to a group of people laying out a good chunk of change for tickets for appetizers and wine wouldn't appreciate a so-so appetizer. It did not disappoint.
A nice combo of flavors - salty Parmesan cheese, a nutty taste from the walnuts, a crunch from the celery, and a nice bite from the bitter endive. The Husband was happy to come home from work to find the plate in the photo waiting in the frig. I liked it more than I thought I would. It is such a simple recipe and can be thrown together in minutes with ingredients typically on hand. Unless you are making it for 125 people. Then it is going to take you longer than a few minutes.
It is never too early to plan the next Happy Hour. I've given you a headstart.
Parmesan and Toasted Walnut Salad in Endive
makes about 40
adapted from a recipe on Epicurious
1 small garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
a 1/4-pound piece of Parmesan, sliced 1/8 inch dice
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
4 Belgian endives
1 cup walnuts, toasted lightly and chopped fine
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leafed parsley leaves
In a bowl whisk together garlic, mayonnaise, lemon juice, and oil and stir in Parmesan and celery. Salad may be prepared up to this point 1 day ahead and chilled, covered.
Trim endives and separate leaves. Endive leaves may be prepared up to this point 1 day ahead and chilled, wrapped in dampened paper towels, in a plastic bag.
Stir walnuts and parsley into salad.
To assemble a large flower design, spoon about 1 tablespoon of salad onto the bottom end of each endive leaf. Arrange around the edge of a round platter with pointed tips outward. Add a second, smaller layer on top of the first, starting so each leaf of the second layer is between two leaves of the bottom layer. Mound remaining salad in the middle, plunging in a third even tighter circle of endive leaves if desired.