Origin of the dish: Belgium
Raw endives are common in salads, but it exists a Belgian dish that serves them cooked. Endive au Jambon is a rustic casserole with butter-soft braised endives wrapped in ham and smothered with béchamel sauce. Grated cheese tops it off before it's baked until bubbly and golden. This is such a pure comfort dish!
Ingredients for 2 people
4 pieces of endive or chicory
4 slices of ham
50 gr/3 tablespoons of butter
50 gr/6 tablespoons flour
salt & pepper
500 ml/2 cups milk
Pinch of grated nutmeg, plus more as desired
100/gr/1 cup grated cheese (Comté or Gruyère)
Steam the chicories/endives for 10 minutes and then transfer the endives to a plate to cool down. When the endives are cool enough to handle, gently squeeze them to remove as much liquid as possible.
In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Add the flour and whisk for about 2 minutes. Pour in the milk and continue to whisk until the mixture begins to thicken. Here is your béchamel sauce! Just add the nutmeg and season lightly with salt and pepper..
Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF.
Wrap each endive with a slice of ham and place them in a baking dish. Pour the béchamel sauce over the endives and sprinkle with the grated cheese.
Bake for 20 minutes, until golden brown. . If you want the top more browned and crusty, broil for a minute or two after baking.
Here is my Belgium list of songs. Enjoy it with your Endives Au Jambon, I find they go very nicely with this playlist :)