Cooking sweetens the bitterness in Belgian endive and topping it with a nutty Gruyère sauce makes it irresistible.
E. Spencer Toy
Braised Belgian Endive au Gratin
PREP AND COOK TIME: About 45 minutes
MAKES: 4 servings
NOTES: The braised endive is also delicious plain: Complete step 1 and serve with lemon wedges.
4 heads white or red Belgian endive (4 to 5 oz. each)
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
3/4 cup milk
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3/4 cup shredded Gruyère or Swiss cheese (3 oz.)
1. Rinse Belgian endive; trim off any discolored bases. Cut heads in half lengthwise. Arrange the halves, cut side down, in a single layer in a heavy 11- to 12-inch frying pan. Add 1/4 cup water and the olive oil. Sprinkle endive lightly with salt and pepper. Cover pan and bring to boil over high heat, then reduce heat and simmer until endive is very tender when pierced, 12 to 20 minutes. Uncover and cook over medium heat, turning heads occasionally, until liquid is evaporated and endive is slightly browned, 6 to 10 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, in a 1- to 2-quart pan over medium-low heat, melt butter. Stir in flour until blended and bubbly. Add milk and nutmeg; stir until mixture is boiling and thickened, about 10 minutes. Stir in 1/2 cup cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste.
3. Arrange endive in a single layer in a shallow 2-quart baking dish. Spoon sauce over the top. Sprinkle evenly with remaining 1/4 cup cheese.
4. Bake, uncovered, in a 400° oven until sauce is bubbling and lightly browned, 9 to 14 minutes. Add more salt and pepper to taste.
Per serving: 194 cal., 70% (135 cal.) from fat; 9.1 g protein; 15 g fat (7.2 g sat.); 6.9 g carbo (2.3 g fiber); 130 mg sodium; 38 mg chol.