This seems like an odd recipe to post in the middle of a brutal summer but we’ve been enjoying some unseasonable cool temperatures for a few days so I whipped out this family favorite. Belgian endives, part of the chicory family, are a cool weather vegetable so this dish was always served during cold days where the steaming hot endives, melt-y cheese, and sweet ham would warm you right up. Finding decently sized endives (six or seven inches) has proven to be a challenge in the US so I frequently resort to buying small ones and doubling them up. Endives can be bitter so there are a few tricks for boiling them:
- Always remove the core from the bottom; it is especially bitter.
- Add a pinch of sugar into the boiling water.
- Select endives with as little color as possible; the white is less bitter.
8 large endives (or 16 really small ones), bottom cored
8 slices of boiled ham (no maple, no honey, no smoke… just plain boiled ham)
6 oz of swiss cheese, shredded
pinch of sugar
salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 375.
Place the endives in boiling water with a pinch of sugar, lower heat to simmering, and cook until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and allow to cool to the touch.
Roll an endive (or two small ones) up inside a slice of ham; alternatively, roll the ham up and place it next to the endive in a casserole dish. Repeat with the remaining ham and endives. Season with salt and pepper.
Sprinkle generously with swiss cheese and place dish in the oven on the middle rack for 30 minutes or until the cheese melts and is bubbly. Move the rack to the top and place the dish under the broiler for about two minutes to brown and crisp the cheese.
Serve and enjoy. Endives retain heat so take small bites!
- Reheats very nicely.
- You can add a bechemel sauce to make it richer
- The endives give off a lot of water so when you’re draining them, try to smoosh out as much water as possible without crushing them.
- Don’t worry about any detached leaves; just plop them in with a whole endive.
- The dish doesn’t need a side but if using a white sauce, a salad with a lemon vinaigrette can cut through the richness.
SHARING IS CARING!