Fresh cranberry relish is one of my favorite parts of the Thanksgiving table. Here is a festive and refreshing starter or salad that substitutes a crisp Fuyu persimmon for orange, uses the relish as a filling for endive spears, and is finished with a tangy goat cheese dressing and toasted walnut pieces. Perfect for the holidays, the dressing, fruit and walnuts are all make ahead items, leaving only the scooping and drizzling duties right before serving. Note: This will make more dressing than you need; it is delicious on salads! - gingerroot —gingerroot
Test Kitchen Notes
Taken individually, each component of this recipe has a touch of bitterness – the cranberries, the garlic and parsley, the endive. But once composed with the balance of persimmon, a bit of sugar, softened goat cheese and toasted nuts, this self-contained sophisticated finger food pulls off bitterness with a refined degree that will leave your guests wondering, “What exactly is in there?” The whole plate of appetizers will disappear in their zeal to answer that question. —cheese1227
about 24 stuffed endive spears
For the cranberry and persimmon:
crisp Fuyu persimmon
1 1/2 cups
fresh whole cranberries, washed
granulated sugar, plus more if necessary
Pinch of sea salt, if necessary
For the tangy goat cheese dressing:
Chevre made with vegetable rennet
small garlic clove, minced
Greek yogurt plus 2 tablespoons water thoroughly blended in a small bowl
finely chopped Italian parsley
Sea salt to taste
Black pepper to taste
For serving (scooping and drizzling):
3 Belgian Endive heads
In This Recipe
Carefully remove the stem and peel the persimmon. Slice in half, and then cut each half into six wedges. Cut each wedge into thirds.
Combine cranberries and persimmon pieces in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until mixture is uniform and finely chopped, occasionally using a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl. If you find yourself with any stubborn chunks of persimmon, simply pick these out and eat them. Add granulated sugar and pulse three more times to combine. At this point, you will want to taste the mixture. Depending on the tartness of the fruit, you may want to add a little more sugar to taste. You do not want it to be really sweet, but you also do not want it to be lip-puckering tart. Transfer fruit to a glass container (you should have 1 1/2 cups), cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least two hours.
MAKE THE DRESSING: Using a fork, mash goat cheese and garlic in a medium bowl; add sherry vinegar and mix to combine. Add Dijon mustard and mix to combine. Using a spatula, add yogurt-water mixture and combine until dressing is smooth. Fold in Italian parsley, and season to taste with sea salt and black pepper. At this point, if your dressing is too thick, you can add another Tablespoon of water and mix to combine thoroughly. Transfer dressing to a glass jar with a lid and refrigerate for at least two hours to let flavors meld.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread walnut pieces in a single layer on a large rimmed baking sheet. Toast nuts for 5-7 minutes, shaking the pan once, until fragrant and golden.
Allow nuts to cool. Finely chop. Transfer to an airtight container until needed for garnish.
Trim ends off Belgian endive heads. Carefully remove spears, discarding any outer layers that look less than perky. Rinse spears and thoroughly dry, using a spin dryer if you have one, or paper towels. You should have at least 24 good-sized spears, plus a few more for tasting. Reserve the tender, innermost spears for another use.
Arrange spears on a large serving platter if you are going the shared starter route, or individual plates, if you prefer the salad route. Before scooping out the fruit mixture, give it a good stir and taste it. I found that after sitting for two hours the fruits had mingled, mellowed, and needed a pinch of sea salt to perk them up. When satisfied, scoop a generous teaspoon of fruit and fill the stem end, gently pressing down on the fruit with the bottom of the spoon in an aesthetically pleasing way. Drizzle the dressing over the spears and garnish with toasted walnuts. Enjoy!
My most vivid childhood memories have to do with family and food. As a kid, I had the good fortune of having a mom who always encouraged trying new things, and two grandmothers who invited me into their kitchens at a young age. I enjoy cooking for the joy it brings me - sharing food with loved ones - and as a stress release. I turn to it equally during good times and bad. Now that I have two young children, I try to be conscientious about what we cook and eat. Right about the time I joined food52, I planted my first raised bed garden and joined a CSA; between the two I try to cook as sustainably and organically as I can. Although I'm usually cooking alone, my children are my favorite kitchen companions and I love cooking with them. I hope when they are grown they will look back fondly at our time spent in the kitchen, as they teach their loved ones about food-love.
Best of all, after years on the mainland for college and graduate school, I get to eat and cook and raise my children in my hometown of Honolulu, HI. When I'm not cooking, I am helping others grow their own organic food or teaching schoolchildren about art.