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Holiday Entertaining :: Why the endive is the perfect addition to any party menu

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Endive, also known as escarole is a perennial, herbaceous leafy plant that traces its origins to the Mediterranean area.There are two popular varieties – Endive (narrow leaf) and Escarole (broad leaf). The endive is a part of the chicory family and sort of looks like a tulip that has not bloomed. The regular endive is pale green. There is also a red endive is known as Belgian Endive which is quite beautiful.

In the States we tend to pronounce it ehn-dive but in Europe it is pronounced en-deev. I tend to use the European pronunciation. I grew up with the endive. During my childhood years in the South of France it was very much a staple in our salads, with a very basic Dijon vinaigrette.  According to Dr. Oz the endive can potentially reduce your risk of cancer because it is high in antioxidants. It is also rich in Vitamin A, Vitamin B and Beta Carotenes. The endive is a bit bitter and its leaves are very sturdy which make it quite the effective and beautiful serving dish. Endive is also a great solution to those wanting to follow a low carb diet or with wheat and gluten sensitivities.

via Flickr

via Flickr

You can put almost anything you wish on the leaf, consider one of the following ideas:
Chicken salad
Shrimp salad
Lobster salad
Crab dip
Greek Salad
Antipasto
Hummus
Salmon and creme fraiche 
Smoked Salmon and dill
Tuna tartare 
Shrimp and avocado
White bean spread
Gorgonzola and pear
Brie and apple
Thai chicken salad
BLT salad
Taco Salad
Cobb Salad

Below are some visuals to further inspire you.

via Clean Eating Magazine

via Clean Eating Magazine

via All Yummy Recipes

via All Yummy Recipes

Via Munching with Munchkin

Via Munching with Munchkin

via Better Homes and Gardens

via Better Homes and Gardens

via Martha Stewart

via Martha Stewart

The above Hot Crab and Pimiento Cheese spread sounds irresistible! The recipe is via Martha Stewart

Hot Crab and Pimiento Cheese Spread

INGREDIENTS

8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
6 ounces extra-sharp yellow cheddar cheese, grated (about 2 cups)
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
8 ounces crab meat, picked over
1/4 cup chopped pimiento (from a 4-ounce jar)
1/4 cup sliced scallions (from about 3 scallions)
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, plus more to taste
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
Hot sauce
1 1/2 cups torn rustic bread (from 1 loaf, crust trimmed)
Endive leaves, cucumber spears, and celery sticks, for serving

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mash cream cheese in a bowl until very soft. Add cheddar and 1/2 cup mayonnaise and stir to combine. Stir in crab, pimiento, scallions, lemon juice, salt, and hot sauce to taste. Spoon mixture into two 14-ounce baking dishes, dividing evenly.
Stir together torn bread and remaining 2 tablespoons mayonnaise. Top spread with bread mixture, dividing evenly. Bake on a baking sheet until golden brown and bubbling, about 25 minutes. Serve immediately with vegetables.

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