Is it just me or do you make the same side dishes over and over again? I get so tired of them same thing, so on this date, I decided to up my game and try something new!
Cheesy Baked Endive are endives wrapped in ham and covered in nutmeg and Dijon mustard spiked cheese sauce. Prepare ahead of time and just stick it in the oven to finish!
Cheesy Baked Endive with Ham, also known Gratin d’Endives au Jambon, is another one of my New Year’s resolutions. This cheesy side dish is a French recipe adapted from French Comfort Food by Hillary Davis.
In fact, I think the only time I’ve ever had Belgian endive was served at parties and weddings with a Waldorf salad. They were more of the serving utensil than part of the recipe.
What is endive? It is a green vegetable that is used much like a lettuce, although some forms look more like commonly used herbs. Curly endive, also known as frisee and chicory, has tightly bunched, frizzy leaves and is mostly eaten as a salad green or garnish. You probably eat these varieties more commonly than Belgium.
Belgian endive, the type used in this recipe, can be eaten raw or cooked. The leaves are crunchy and slightly bitter, but the tastes mellow when cooked. Leaves might be a little tough, but cooking also helps soften.
Since I was busy making several other dishes and had a large skillet with rendered bacon fat, I decided to use this for sauteing endive halves instead of olive oil. You can use olive oil or even unsalted butter. If you use salted butter, omit salt from the rest of the recipe.
A few tablespoons of sugar offsets potential bitterness. A nice blond roux, freshly grated nutmeg and Dijon mustard result in a zesty cheese sauce over delicate endive wrapped in ham. Put it all in a casserole dish to bubble and you have an extraordinary side dish!
My family loved it! Cheesy Baked Endive was a pleasing break from our usual at-home side dishes. We hope you enjoy it too!
Looking for more side dish recipes? Check these out!
Cheesy Baked Endive
- 6 endives root and discolored leaves removed, cuthalf lengthwise
- 4 tablespoons bacon grease or olive oil
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 6 thin honey ham slices
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 4 tablespoons flour
- 2 cups whole milk
- 4 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh nutmeg grated
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 large garlic cloves minced
- 8 ounces Gruyere finely grated
- 1/2 cup pecorino reggiano cheese finely grated
- Italian parsley for garnish
- Cooking spray
- Heat bacon grease in a large skillet, when hot, sprinkle sugar over top. Add endive, sliced side down, sauteing for 2-3 minutes, or until softened. Turn and repeat.
- Remove and cool slightly. Put 2 endive halves back together and wrap with a thin slice of honey ham to secure.
- Coat gratin dish with cooking spray and place wrapped endive in a single layer, set aside.
- In a medium sauce pan, melt butter, whisking in flour until a light brown color with a nutty smell. Whisk in milk until smooth, then add Dijon mustard to minced garlic.
- Finally, whisk in cheeses and simmer until thick.
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Pour cheese sauce over wrapped endive. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 25-30 minutes.
- Remove and allow to sit for 5 minutes before topping with chopped Italian parsley and serve.
- If you've tried this recipe, come back and let us know how it was!