Belgian Endive with Lemon-Herb Goat Cheese

If you want to make a quick (and low-carb) appetizer for a dinner party, this recipe for Belgian Endive “spoons” filled with goat cheese is a good choice.  It is tasty and pretty, and easy for people to help themselves.  A simple mix of goat cheese, lemon juice and peel, chives and cilantro fill the Belgian endive leaves.  A garnish of sliced cherry tomatoes and cilantro leaves gives a little color and adds to the flavor as well.

I first made this recipe from Epicurious for a large party, but I’ve made it a number of times since then as an appetizer for smaller dinners.  Here is my scaled-down version of the recipe.

Belgian Endive with Lemon-Herb Goat Cheese

2 heads Belgian Endive (larger ones are best for this)
4 oz. soft goat cheese
½ Tablespoon olive oil
½ teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 Tablespoon finely chopped chives
1 Tablespoon finely chopped cilantro

about 4 grape tomatoes, sliced thinly, slices halved (for garnish)
small fresh cilantro leaves (for garnish)

In a small bowl, combine the goat cheese, olive oil, lemon zest and juice and herbs.  If the mixture seems too dry add a little more lemon juice or olive oil to until you have consistency and taste that you like. The goat cheese filling can be made several hours ahead of time and refrigerated before filling the endive leaves.

Cut the base of the endive away from the leaves, and arrange individual leaves in a circular pattern on a serving dish.  Spoon a small amount of  the goat cheese filling into the wide end of each leaf.  Place a small cilantro leaf and a half-slice of tomato on top of each cheese-filled leaf.  Cover and chill until ready to serve.

Grape tomatoes can be used to fill the center of the plate if you have just one circle of endive spoons.

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