Baked Endives with Ham and Cheese

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My yoga teacher reminded me yesterday how fast time can go by and how we don’t even notice all that we do or have done with that time. A flash and whirlwind. Its winter here in New York, we have finally gotten the snow that came late this year and this last weekend we had the deep freeze that always makes me want to stay in my kitchen with the oven and stove working on overtime. And one of the things I have loved making on these colder and wet/snowy days is this braised or baked endive. I have no emotional connection to these, no family member ever made these in my childhood, and yet I have seen recipes for this time and again and again and each time I immediately long to cook these.

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I love endive in salad and the idea of braising it always seems comforting and warm. And excuse me cheese yes please!! The bitter endive is milder when cooked but retains it’s bite. Wrapped in ham and then covered with nutty savory cheese makes for the perfect bite. Served with a green salad and some crusty bread to soak up the sauce, you will want to lick the plate and bread is usually a better option then my finger wiping the plate clean. Its simple yet feels slightly old world comfort food that is perfect for a cold, snowy, rainy, or foggy night. 

I hope you enjoy and are staying warm and that time is not going too fast to simply be for a few moments.

Ra

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Baked Endives with Ham and Cheese adapted from David Lebovitz

Ingredients

6 Belgian endives, halved vertically

Juice of a lemon

Salt and pepper

Pinch cayenne pepper (this is optional but I think it elevates the dish)

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons flour

1 1/2 cups milk, room temperature

4-5 slices cooked ham from the deli, halved

2 ounces grated Gruyère cheese 

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  • Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Remove the outer layers of the endive, trim the bottoms and cut in half and remove the cores. Put the endives, cut-side down, in a large skillet with small pat of butter. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with lemon juice. Brown one side of endive for 5 min flip over and add 1/3 cup of water to the pan, cover and bring to a boil. Cook until water is evaporated and endive is tender, approx 5 min more. I usually have to do my endive in batches and then let cool on a plate.
  • Melt butter in a saucepan. Whisk in flour and cook, stirring constantly, over low heat for 2 minutes. Slowly whisk in the milk, whisking all the time. Cook for about 10 minutes, until the sauce is thick and smooth. Season with salt and pepper and cayenne if using it.
  • Take about 1/3 of the béchamel and lay in the bottom of a baking dish that is large enough to hold all of the endives in a single layer. Wrap each endive in a piece of ham and place, seam side down, in the baking dish. Spoon the remaining 2/3 of béchamel over the endives. Sprinkle with the cheese. Bake the endives for 15 to 20 minutes, until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese has browned. Serve hot.

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02 2016

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