Last Christmas one of my neighbours made this delicious festive appetizer using red and white endive spears stuffed with a delicate mixture of smoked salmon, quark cheese and dill. It was lovely, light and refreshing and easy to prepare ahead of time. The most heartwarming touch was the little rose in the middle which was the bottom stem of the red endive!
Endive Stuffed with Smoked Salmon and Quark
Makes about 24 spears
1 head each of white and red endive
1 package of smoked salmon bits
1/2 cup Quark cheese (or whipped cream cheese)
1 lemon, juice and zest
1 tbsp shallots, minced
2 tbsp fresh dill, chopped
Dice the smoked salmon into small pieces. In a small bowl, combine the smoked salmon, Quark cheese, lemon juice and zest, shallots and dill. Cut the endive at the stem to make individual endive leaves. Save the stem bottoms, and set aside. Spoon a little of the mixture on each endive spear and arrange on a platter, alternating the red and white leaves in a circular arrangement. Place a 'rose' in the middle, by using the bottom stem of one of the red endives, and garnish with fresh dill.
COOK'S NOTE: Mike's Fish at the St. Lawrence Market sells packages of smoked salmon bits, but you can also just chop up the salmon yourself. The Quark cheese came from Scheffler's at the market, but is available in most grocery stores. You could also use a whipped cream cheese if you prefer.