Posted by / Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Braised Endive with Ham and Gruyère

I might be going out on a limb here, but if you are like me, for the longest time I would walk by Belgian endive in the store not really having any idea of what to do with them. I mean, I have seen them in salads, used as individual little wedges or cups with say chicken salad or pimento cheese spread in them for appetizers. Well walk past this versatile vegetable no more and serve this recipe (adapted form as an elegant and fancy side at your next dinner or covered dish party.

Ingredients for Endive:
  • 5T unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 1/2T kosher salt
  • 8 large yellow Belgian endive, trimmed (I pulled of any outer brown leaves and trimmed the stem to keep the leaves in tact with the stem).
  • 8 thin slices, black forest ham
Ingredients for the Béchamel Sauce
  • 2T unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2/3 cup whole milk, warmed
  • 1T plus 1t freshly grated nutmeg
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • 8 ounces grated Gruyere cheese
To cook the endive, combine the butter, sugar, salt, and 10 1/2 cups water in a large pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to maintain a steady simmer. Add the endive, cover, and cook until very tender, about 45 minutes. When ready, a knife should be able to pierce through the endive with no resistance. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the endive to paper towels. Reserve 1 1/4 cups cooking liquid. When cool enough to handle, squeeze out as much liquid as possible from the endive.

Wrap each endive with slices of ham and arrange in a shallow baking dish that holds them snugly; you don't want any space between the endive. Preheat the oven to 400°F.

To make the béchamel, melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat until golden. Add the flour and cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture smells nutty, about 2 minutes. Continue whisking and add the milk, then the reserved endive cooking liquid in a slow, steady stream. Bring the mixture to a boil while whisking. Continue whisking until thickened, about 5 minutes, then whisk in the nutmeg and pepper.

Pour the béchamel over the endive, spread to cover them evenly and sprinkle the cheese evenly over the top. Set the dish on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until bubbly and golden brown on top, about 15 minutes. If you want the top more browned and crusty, broil for a minute or two after baking. 

So tell me, have you walked by endive in the store not knowing what to do with it and if not what are some creative ways you use this vegetable? Would love to know if you do indeed give this whirl as I am sure it will be a hit with all of its cheesy gooey goodness.

E.A.T. local E.A.T. well

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"Some people eat to live; I live to eat." -Tim Vidra

An avid home cook, I believe in using simple ingredients, local when possible and am inspired by the principles of supporting a sustainable food system. I’ve cultivated this blog as a way to share my passion for the preparation and enjoyment of food in a way that everyone from beginners to long time foodies can get involved in.



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