A Last Minute Appetizer with Brilliant Flavors and Lots of Style

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This time of year, the appetizer section of my recipe book gets a workout. Family parties call for casual dips and spreads. Serious foodie gatherings get elaborate bites rolled and stuffed with exotic ingredients. Small groups get super-festive foods.

This recipe has the virtue of being very easy to assemble. It's light when so many holiday appetizers are heavy. It looks pretty and tastes even better. I adapted it from Fine Cooking, maybe. It goes together in about 20 minutes. Tastes just right with beer or wine. It doubles successfully, and the leftover vinaigrette keeps for a week or so.

Smoked Salmon in Endive Spears with Lemon Dill Vinaigrette

1 tablespoon grainy mustard
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
2 tablespoons minced red onion
2 tablespoons minced fresh dill
1/4 lemon juice
1/3 cup olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

8 to 10 ounces smoked salmon, cut into 15 pieces
Leaves from 2 Belgian endive (about 15)

Combine the mustard, mayonnaise, onion, dill and lemon juice in a small bowl and mix well. Gradually whisk in the olive oil. Season with plenty of salt and pepper.

Arrange the salmon in the endive leaves. Arrange on a platter. (You can make the dish up to this point and refrigerate, covered, for 2 hours.) Drizzle a little of the lemon-dill mixture over the salmon. Makes 15 pieces, 5 to 6 appetizer servings.
(There will be a lot of viniagrette left — instant salad dressing!)

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