Fennel and Belgian Endive Casserole
James Carrier
Yields Makes 12 servings

Notes: The vegetables cook in a plentiful cheese and cream sauce; spoon the sauce over the sliced pork. You can prepare the casserole through step 8 up to 1 day ahead; cool after baking, cover with plastic wrap, and chill. To reheat, remove plastic wrap; cover casserole tightly with foil and bake in a 375° regular or convection oven until bubbling and hot in the center, about 30 minutes, then continue with step 9.

How to Make It

Step 1
1

Pinch off tender green fennel leaves; rinse, drain, wrap in a towel, place in a plastic bag, and chill up to 1 day.

Step 2
2

Trim off and discard stalks, root ends, and any bruised areas from fennel heads. Rinse heads and cut in half lengthwise across widest dimension.

Step 3
3

Trim off and discard discolored root ends and any discolored leaves from endive. Cut heads in half lengthwise.

Step 4
4

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a 10- to 12-inch frying pan over medium-high heat. Lay as much fennel as will fit, cut side down, in pan and brown lightly, 3 to 4 minutes; turn and brown curved sides, 3 to 4 minutes longer. If butter starts to scorch, add water, 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time. As it is browned, transfer fennel, cut side up, to a shallow 3-quart casserole or 9- by 13-inch baking dish, and brown remaining pieces.

Step 5
5

When all fennel is browned, lay endive cut side down in frying pan and brown, 3 to 4 minutes, adding 1 to 2 tablespoons water if it begins to scorch. Turn over and brown top sides, 3 to 4 minutes longer.

Step 6
6

Remove pan from heat and transfer endive to a cutting board. Cut halves in half lengthwise. Tear prosciutto slices into long, narrow strips. Wrap endive sections equally with prosciutto. Fit endive pieces evenly among fennel pieces in casserole.

Step 7
7

In the unwashed frying pan over high heat, melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter; add flour and stir until lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and gradually whisk in broth and cream. Return pan to high heat and whisk until boiling; boil and stir 2 minutes longer. Add 1/3 cup cheese and whisk until melted. Pour sauce evenly over fennel and endive, coating all surfaces. Cover tightly with foil.

Step 8
8

Bake in a 375° regular or convection oven until fennel is just tender when pierced, about 40 minutes.

Step 9
9

Uncover, dot with remaining cheese, and bake until browned, about 20 minutes. Chop 1/2 cup reserved fennel leaves and sprinkle over casserole. Serve hot.

Ingredients

 6 heads fennel with stalks (each 3 to 3 1/2 in. wide)
 3 heads Belgian endive (about 4 oz. each)
 1/4 cup (1/8 lb.) butter or olive oil
 3 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto
 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
 2 cups fat-skimmed chicken broth
 1 cup whipping cream
 8 ounces gorgonzola or dolce gorgonzola cheese, crumbled (about 3/4 cup)

Directions

Step 1
1

Pinch off tender green fennel leaves; rinse, drain, wrap in a towel, place in a plastic bag, and chill up to 1 day.

Step 2
2

Trim off and discard stalks, root ends, and any bruised areas from fennel heads. Rinse heads and cut in half lengthwise across widest dimension.

Step 3
3

Trim off and discard discolored root ends and any discolored leaves from endive. Cut heads in half lengthwise.

Step 4
4

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a 10- to 12-inch frying pan over medium-high heat. Lay as much fennel as will fit, cut side down, in pan and brown lightly, 3 to 4 minutes; turn and brown curved sides, 3 to 4 minutes longer. If butter starts to scorch, add water, 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time. As it is browned, transfer fennel, cut side up, to a shallow 3-quart casserole or 9- by 13-inch baking dish, and brown remaining pieces.

Step 5
5

When all fennel is browned, lay endive cut side down in frying pan and brown, 3 to 4 minutes, adding 1 to 2 tablespoons water if it begins to scorch. Turn over and brown top sides, 3 to 4 minutes longer.

Step 6
6

Remove pan from heat and transfer endive to a cutting board. Cut halves in half lengthwise. Tear prosciutto slices into long, narrow strips. Wrap endive sections equally with prosciutto. Fit endive pieces evenly among fennel pieces in casserole.

Step 7
7

In the unwashed frying pan over high heat, melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter; add flour and stir until lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and gradually whisk in broth and cream. Return pan to high heat and whisk until boiling; boil and stir 2 minutes longer. Add 1/3 cup cheese and whisk until melted. Pour sauce evenly over fennel and endive, coating all surfaces. Cover tightly with foil.

Step 8
8

Bake in a 375° regular or convection oven until fennel is just tender when pierced, about 40 minutes.

Step 9
9

Uncover, dot with remaining cheese, and bake until browned, about 20 minutes. Chop 1/2 cup reserved fennel leaves and sprinkle over casserole. Serve hot.

Fennel and Belgian Endive Casserole