This is a delicate (not to mention quick and easy!) appetizer or antipasto inspired by one of my favourite toasted sandwich fillings (from my cookbook, Florentine). It's a wonderful balance of sweet, bitter, salty, and creamy. Choose firm, crisp, bright witlof, avoid ones with any browning of the leaves. If you can't get a young, creamy, quite mild pecorino (aged versions are decidedly saltier and firmer), try asiago or provolone dolce instead. A delicate, fragrant honey (something not too sweet) is my preference for this, in Italy one would use locust honey. As a second, something more balsamic like a dark chestnut honey is also interesting. —Emiko
4 as part of an antipasto
Belgian endives (also known as witlof or chicory)
1/4 inch slices of young or semi-aged pecorino cheese (see note for alternatives)
honey, such as locust or chestnut
sea salt flakes
extra virgin olive oil
In This Recipe
Peel off the outer leaves of the witlof, particularly if they are a little wilted. Chop off the stem and pick the leaves off one by one, until you have about 20 similarly sized, boat-shaped leaves.
Chop the cheese slices into 1 inch thick pieces and lay one piece of each on each witlof leaf. Transfer to a board or a platter. Drizzle with a little honey and olive oil and sprinkle over some salt.
The Australian-Japanese cookbook author has lived in Florence (where a visit to a cheese farm once inspired her to start a food blog) for over 10 years with her Tuscan sommelier husband and two kids. Her third cookbook, Tortellini at Midnight, is out now.