...this was the first dish Melinda ordered in Paris....braised endive with ham and a bechamel sauce with gruyere cheese! The only bad thing about it was that I didn't order it (AND I ended up with a cheese and ham omelet that was overcooked and had NO cheese!).
So, I've been dreaming of this dish since that day and I've been through every recipe in my cookbook gallery and on the internet. In the end, I decided to use a version of Julia Child's recipe, especially since I'm currently reading the "Julie/Julia Project" blog. Of course, "use" a recipe for me means that I'm going to use most of the ingredients and possibly the process.
Julia's recipe calls for 12 (yes, a dozen!) endives....she must have been cooking for quite a crowd! I bought 4....
....and sliced them in half lengthwise,
... melted butter in my pan and cooked them on medium high, just until they start to turn brown.
Then I added a half cup of vermouth and a half cup of chicken stock
and let that cook down until there was only a couple of tablespoons left in the pan. Meanwhile, I made a "round" of waxed paper, which will be used to cover the endive as they bake.
Remove the pan from the stove, cover the endive with the waxed paper and the lid to the pan, then bake at 350 degrees for one hour (I know....long time, huh?). Then you remove the pan, take off the lid (not the waxed paper) and cook for an additional half hour. When they come out, they look like this:
I couldn't resist eating one, even though I still had the bechamel sauce to make....
....it was delicious!
Next I rolled each one in thinly sliced ham....since I only had a few slices of deli ham, I wrapped the others in prosciutto. Then I started the bechamel sauce. You make a buerre manie, which is made by mixing together equal parts of softened (not melted) butter and flour, then add to the pan....
....heat the pan and allow this mixture to cook just for a minute or two, then add milk (I'll tell you now that I used half and half because I only had skim milk - mistake - should have used half of each of those because my sauce was just toooo thick!)...a little grated nutmeg, then allow to thicken. Then add grated gruyere cheese.
Pour over the ham and endive,
top with a little more cheese, then bake at 350 degrees until bubbly and brown on the top.
Although my sauce was a bit too thick, the flavor was there! I was immediately transported back to my first morning in Paris!
I will make this again.....