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Recipe: Gratin of Belgian Endive and Ham, from 'Cindy's Supper Club'

Here's a recipe from Cindy's Supper Club, by Cindy Pawlcyn, featured in today's Buffalo News.

"My Belgian friend Anne says that in Belgium this gratin is served with mashed potatoes and a green salad for a satisfying and simple supper. It also makes a rich, warming appetizer, portioned at
one-half endive per person. In this menu, it plays the role of a hearty side dish. It may be assembled in advance and then baked just before serving, which makes it ideal for entertaining. It also holds well for 5 to 10 minutes in a warm oven if the timing of dinner needs to be adjusted.

This gratin may be baked in a single large dish and then plated for serving or baked in individual dishes. For the latter, I like to use either classic white French porcelain dishes or Spanish earthenware cazuelas." Serves 6

Gratin of Belgian Endive and Ham

4 to 6 tablespoons unsalted butter

9 heads Belgian endive, halved lengthwise and stem ends trimmed but not cored

Juice of 1/2 lemon

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Béchamel

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

3 cups whole milk

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Freshly grated nutmeg, for seasoning

A few dashes of Tabasco sauce

11/2 cups grated aged Gruyère cheese

 

6 large slices cooked ham (such as Black Forest or honey-cured)

1/4 to 1/2 cup grated aged Gruyère cheese

1/4 to 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

 In a large sauté pan, melt 4 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. When the butter is hot, place the endive halves, cut side down, in the pan and sauté for 5 minutes, until the edges are caramelized. Turn the endive halves and cook, adding some or all of the remaining 2 tablespoons butter if the endives threaten to scorch, for 3 to 5 minutes, until the outer leaves are tender. Season with the lemon juice, salt, and pepper and continue to cook for 8 to 10 minutes, until just tender. Remove from the heat and reserve until needed.

To make the béchamel, in a sauce pan, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Sprinkle in the flour and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until aromatic and the raw smell of flour is gone. Do not allow the roux to brown. Slowly pour in the milk while stirring constantly, and then cook, continuing to stir, for 5 to 8 minutes, until thickened to the consistency of thick cream and it coats the back of the spoon. Season with the salt, pepper, nutmeg, and Tabasco. Add the Gruyère cheese and stir just until melted. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.

To assemble the gratin(s), butter 1 large or 6 small gratin dishes. (The large dish should accommodate the endives, snuggly but not crowded, in a single layer.) Cut the ham slices in half crosswise, and wrap a piece of ham around the center of each endive half. Place the endive halves, cut side up, in the prepared dish(es). Pour the béchamel evenly over the top and sprinkle with the Gruyère and Parmesan. (At this point, the dish may be covered and refrigerated for up to 2 hours before baking.)

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Bake until golden brown and yummy. This could take anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes, or more, depending on how cold everything is when you put the dish(es) in the oven. If everything looks cooked through, but the top is not nicely browned, pop the dish(es) under the broiler (make sure they are broiler safe) for a few minutes to finish caramelizing around the edges. The dish should be hot and bubbling when served.

(Reprinted with permission from "Cindy's Supper Club: Meals from Around the World to Share with Family and Friends," by Cincy Pawlcyn, copyright (c) 2012. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group.)

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Food and Drink
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