Endive Leaves Filled with Bleu Cheese, Toasted Walnuts, Anjou Pear, and Bacon

endive salad cups

Super Bowl Sundays are all about getting a bunch of family and friends together to watch a good game and eat a lot of food. I'm not the biggest fan of football in general, but the thing I like best about Sunday is all the appetizers, chips, and dips. I think many people can agree with me that a wide array of food options are necessary for a successful Super Bowl party. This year I decided to update my repertoire. Of course I'll offer the tried-and-true favorites, like buffalo wings with bleu cheese dip, but here's a new creation that features the classic flavors of a popular salad in easy individual appetizer portions.

Endive salad with bleu cheese and walnuts is one of my all-time favorite salads. It's what I order again and again whenever I visit Porter House New York, one of the top steakhouses in the city. Here, instead of doing the expected and assembling a chopped salad, I separate the endive leaves and fill each with crumbled bleu cheese, toasted walnuts, and add my own touch with diced pear and salty bacon. I finish the little boats by drizzling them with lemon vinaigrette. Each appetizer bite is crunchy, cheesy, creamy, nutty, salty, and slightly sweet and tart. They will be a surefire hit since they offer all the necessary flavors to accompany a cold beer or a margarita. Next thing you know it's time for the game and you've eaten almost all the appetizers.

Endive Leaves Filled with Bleu Cheese, Toasted Walnuts, Anjou Pear, and Bacon

2 heads Belgian endive, cored and leaves separated
4 ounces bleu cheese, crumbled
1/3 cup walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
1 Anjou pear, peeled and diced
3 slices bacon, fried and crumbled
2 tablespoons lemon juice
4 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon maple syrup
fine sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

Spread leaves on a platter. Divide bleu cheese, walnuts, diced pear, and bacon among leaves.

In a measuring cup, whisk together lemon juice, oil, mustard, and maple syrup. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle over filled leaves. Serve immediately. Yield: about 20 appetizers.