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Endive and Ham Gratin Recipe-7

I’ve had a lot of visitors this season and everyone, of course, wanted me to pick a restaurant where to meet up. It was great to see so many long-lost friends, but since it was two meals a day for a couple of weeks, my “idea list” began to run dry. And while I have a bunch of places that I personally want to try, most visitors don’t want to “try out a new place” (and for some reason, no one wants to go out for pizza…), so rather than risk a so-so meal, they wanted me to pick something tried-and-true. Which I suppose is fair enough.

Endive and Ham Gratin

But after a while, I was tapped out. It got to the point where I had lunch one day at one place, then returned to their partner restaurant across the street for dinner a few hours later that same night. And I also learned that there’s only so much restaurant food you can eat. I used to wonder why food critics complained about their jobs, having to eat all the time. Yet by the end of my guest stints, I was starting to wave the white flag of surrender myself.

Endive and Ham Gratin

I did have a little break and went to a French friend’s home for lunch one day, and knowing both of us were pretty busy, and eating a little too much lately, we left the decision to whatever we felt that we’d be in the mood for that day. Then that day arrived, and neither of us could decide. At her suggestion, and in deference to our waistlines, and our pocketbooks (or in my case, my wallet), she invited me over for soup.

Endive and Ham Gratin

Lunching in her kitchen, we did, indeed, start off with soup. Then she pulled an endive gratin out of the oven with the spears wrapped in ham and melted cheese roasted all over the top. I wasn’t sure if the dish laden with ham, béchamel, and cheese, was so pleasing to the waistline, but it tasted wonderful. And it was nice to have a home-cooked meal for a breather.

Belgian endive is widely available in Paris and while I know it’s a specialty ingredient in other countries, as it is in the United States, it’s usually about €2 per kilo (roughly $1/pound) in France, so it certainly fits into the easy-on-the-wallet category. (And no, I don’t carry a man-purse.) It’s often sold in big bags and I always seem to have one in my refrigerator, ready to make a big Belgian endive salad with.

Endive and Ham Gratin

The slightly bitter, hefty flavor of Belgian endive is nice in the winter when your appetite needs some perking up. And even if it’s pricey where you live, tossing a sliced up spear with some mixed greens is a great way to extend the flavor without having to dig too deeply into your man-purse, or wallet.

Endive and Ham Gratin

However when long-roasted in a bath of butter, no matter what the price, Belgian endive becomes a luxurious experience. When I made this gratin a friend called, who works for a French agricultural association, and he was baking some Belgian endive spears the same way, the very same night. Unfortunately since it’s winter, the sun goes down around 5pm and there’s little natural light to share a photo that does justice to it.

Fortunately, there was enough for leftovers the next day and like lasagna, it’s almost better the second time around, when the cheese gets extra chewy and crisp around the edges. (I do add a bit of extra cheese, to moisten things up if reheating.) This is a wonderful rustic French dish, perfect as a main course along with a green salad with mustardy vinaigrette. But it’s also a nice side dish, in the dead of winter.

Endive and Ham Gratin

Endive and Ham Gratin

I happen to be a person that doesn't like a lot of sauce. However it's hard to make a very small batch of béchamel so I included a recipe that makes 2 cups (500ml). I used about 1 1/4 cups (about 310ml) but feel free to use all of it if you like sauce, especially if you bake the endives in a larger gratin dish. (Mine is a long, vintage orange one, with not a lot of room around it.) As for serving size, I'd figured this was enough for four people, but we ended up eating almost all of them, they were so good. The few that we were able to resist, were great reheated the next day.Note that the butter-braised Belgian endive spears are good on their own. No need to sauce and add cheese; they're a wonderful side dish on their own.

For the béchamel:

  • 2 tablespoons butter, salted or unsalted
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups (500ml) whole milk, warmed
  • pinch salt
  • pinch cayenne

For the endive and ham gratin:

  • 2 tablespoons butter, salted or unsalted
  • 1 pound (450g, about 8 medium spears) Belgian endive spears
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 8 thin slices of ham, such as prosciutto, speck, or another country-style ham
  • 3/4 cup (65g) grated cheese, such as Comté, Gruyère, Emmenthal, or Gouda (or a combination)
  • To make the béchamel, melt the 2 tablespoons of butter in a saucepan. Add the flour and when the mixture begins to bubble, cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Gradually add the warm milk, while whisking, until it's all incorporated.
  • Continue to cook the sauce at a low boil for 4 to 5 minutes, until it's about as thick as a milkshake. Remove from heat and mix in the salt and cayenne. Set aside. (You can make the béchamel up to 2 days in advance, and chill it until ready to use.)
  • Preheat the oven to 325ºF (160ºC).
  • Melt the 2 tablespoons of butter in a heatproof and flameproof baking or gratin dish, on the stovetop.(Make sure the baking dish you use can be heated over direct flame or on the stovetop. I use a glazed enamel gratin dish. Glass, porcelain, ceramic, and other materials are usually not appropriate for stove-top cooking. If you don't have one, or are unsure, melt the butter in a skillet and do the initial browning - in the next step - in the skillet. Then transfer them to an ovenproof baking dish before baking.)
  • Add the endive spears and cook, turning them occasionally, until they are browned on all sides, about 10 minutes total. Add the water and lemon juice to the baking dish, cover the endive with a piece of parchment paper, and bake the endives in the oven until fully cooked. They're done when you pierce one with the tip of a sharp paring knife, and it meets no resistance. Small to medium endives will take about an hour. Larger ones may take 15 minutes longer.
  • Remove the endives from the oven and increase the heat to 350ºF (180ºC).
  • When the endives are cool enough to handle, wrap each one with a piece of ham and set them in a single layer back in the baking dish. (If you want, you can smear some of the béchamel in the bottom of the baking dish first.) Spoon béchamel over the spears (see headnote), top with grated cheese, and bake until the cheese is melted and the top is browned, about 30 minutes. If you have a broiler, if they don't brown, or if you'd like them darker, run them under the broiler for a few minutes, until they're done to your liking. Serve warm.


Storage: The endives can be cooked 2-3 days before being wrapped in ham, and baked.


    • SusaninLondon

    I love this dish! It’s a recipe a French friend taught my mother, but I just par-boil my endives – much quicker. Just be sure to drain them thoroughly. You can do it with leeks too.

    • Mardi (eat. live. travel. write.)

    When I lived in Belgium, I fell in love with “chicons au gratin” and it’s still one dish that will transport me back to those days each and every time I make it. Full of happy memories. Thanks for this recipe. It’s definitely the weather for this here in Canada right now!

      • Kyliemo

      I was just wondering if leeks make a good substitute, thank you. I’m going to try this on Friday for supper.

        • David
        David Lebovitz

        Leeks would be nice, although they lack the bitter edge of endives, which is a nice contrast with the cheese. You would probably want to adjust the baking time down a bit as leeks cook faster. Enjoy!

    • Carmen

    I´ve neve baked endives but they seem so tasty. I found your blog thanks to your travel to Israel (I´m spanish but I have lived there for 2 years) and I have just seen so many delicious recipes that I will follow your from now.

    • Annabel

    I, too, parboil the endives (or leeks, which make a delicious alternative), but I must try your way as I suspect it brings out the flavour even more. Also lush served the Belgian way, with mashed potato.

    • Laura

    I too, love this dish. And I might need a pep talk to convince myself that I can actually make it. Confession, I usually go the pizza route because I am not as talented as you, especially with guests. I get so nervous cooking for others. Maybe a trial run is in order here =) What an elegant dish!

    • Violette kogut

    Endives are $3.99 a pound in maryland ,near DC.
    I read your article each time you mail them,you have a wonderful sense of humor….
    I am french and go home once a year,I have yet tried your restaurants….
    I shall the next time.
    I also Iwill try les endives en gratin,but the sauce is rich…..alors je ne sais pas

    • Ken

    For years,I had been told that parboiling endives would make them taste bitter. So I tried it last week. Before, I had always cooked them first in butter, to brown them a little, and then added some white wine and lemon juice to the pan to finish the cooking, covered. Well, it turned out that the parboiled endives weren’t bitter at all. They are now in the freezer, ready to be made into a gratin or a tatin.

    • Claire

    These look delicious! The little endives look like unopened daffodil blooms. Never occurred to me you could serve them in a gratin but I will surely try it.

    I know this is not the place, but I’ve been getting your monthly newsletters for several years but haven’t received them the last two months. When I read that you’d moved your blog over to another medium, I re-registered and still no newsletter. Any ideas?


    • Ileana

    This sounds so delicious! I love the addition of ham and can’t wait to try it.

    • David
    David Lebovitz

    Susan, Annabel: Some people do like to boil endives, but I find that I like the concentrated flavor that oven-roasting gives to vegetables, rather than boiling them. Plus the pan-roasting in butter gives them a nice caramelization on the outside, which provides additional flavor.

    Claire: Still working on getting that all sorted out. Thanks for your patience!

    • Kat

    My dad used to make this dish when I was little and I still request it every time I go home (Netherlands) and on occasion make it at home (in US) when I feel homesick or when I spot some cheap endive (which is indeed rare). All these years and I never knew it was French in origin :)

    • Sara

    I’ve made this recipe by request for my husband (who is French). I boiled my endive, I think I’m going to follow your suggestion and bake it. Also in my béchamel I grate a little nutmeg, will have to try the cayenne next time.

    • Cabetca

    You must be prescient! There’s Belgian endive ($3.49/lb at our local fruit and veggie market in the SF Bay area) in the fridge and some prosciutto that needs to be used as well. A perfect main dish on a rainy night. Thanks a bunch, David.

    • Gina

    That’s the dish that made me decide to look into French cooking at home when a friend served it to me at an improvised dinner at her place. Until then, I thought that kind of dish could only be found in restaurants! Eventually, I became a restaurateur and that dish went on the meny during endive season.

    • Angela

    This is one of my favourite recipes! I love the balance of the slightly bitter taste of the endives cooked with the salty ham and creamy cheese which gives the dish its unique taste. I recently cooked it for an Irish friend living living in Provence, who said she didn’t like the bitterness of endive and to prove that it loses its bitterness when cooked, but she still didn’t like it!!! Some people just cant be swayed.

    • Mary

    This looks just divine…and divinely easy to make! Wish I could have had it for Thanksgiving but Christmas will do! I just love endive and I have few recipes where it is baked. This will be a nice change.

    • Veronica

    This is one of my favourite winter dishes. My experience is that cooking endives in water makes them too bitter, so I do all the cooking in butter, slowly in a covered pan so that they caramelise nicely. You have to be careful not to burn them though — I may try your way next time as it requires less attention.

    • Holly Boyle

    Thank you David – this is perfect for a rainy night in Southern California – Perfection!

    • Brian @ A Thought For Food

    Endive is so under-appreciated. I grew up with it in salads, but I really prefer it cooked. This gratin looks magical!

    • L K

    a french couple now living in san francisco bay area said their favorite french dish was roasted endive wrapped in prosciutto, topped with tomato ‘concasse’ and left the creative process to me…there was a missing link…the endive preparation. delighted to get ‘your’ roasting idea. you might enjoy this version also sans the caloric intake…or slight variation with a dab of creme fraiche or béchamel on top.

    • Kathy

    Chicons au Gratin seems to be on every traditional menu here in Brussels. After enjoying it many times at restaurants I am now inspired to make your version at home. It will be perfect for our many cold, grey days.

    • ron shapley(NYC)

    At Fairways(NYC) beautiful endive sold in bulk !!

    • georgeanne brennan

    I swear we live/think parallel lives! This gratin I first wrote about and gave the recipe in my Potager book, and everyone loves it, including children. Rich Collins, the USA’s only endive producer is a friend and I get it fresh by the case from him. And, your salad piece, noting the French use of actual lettuce names is just what I wrote about in my French Lettuce Collection – and so on. Love to read your stories.

    • Lucy

    This is an old favorite at our house too. Now’s the time! My husband remembers getting this at school when he was a boy and we never have leftovers when I prepare it.

    • Valerie

    This is one of my winter staple dishes, which my grandmother taught me (je suis française) . I boil the endives, and skip the calorie ridden bechamel. Slit the cooked endives down the middle to create a pocket, put grated Swiss cheese in, then wrap with a slice of ham, add more grated Swiss to the top of each endive, then dot entire dish with little pieces of butter and bake. Comfort food at its best! Bon appetit –

    • Carol K

    It’s a cold damp day here, and the gratin looks wonderful. I often have baked ham…remains of a half or quarter, and find that diced bites sprinkled in, over and around the endives before saucing makes a lovely supper time variation.. An idea to tuck away as we enter the season of the never ending holiday buffet!

    • Ann Mah

    Yum! This is one of my favorite winter dishes. I discovered it in… Beijing, China! Of all places! At a terrific Belgian restaurant called Morel’s. Can’t wait to make it at home. Thanks!

    • infosteph

    This is a dish I learned from relatives in northern France when I was at university in Paris. When a French chef came to Minneapolis and asked some of us eating in his restaurant what we would like to see on the menu I mentioned this dish. He turned up his nose and said, in French, “That’s grandmother food.” Well, that was the point! Real comfort food, and delicious to boot!

    • wendie morin

    Thanks for the recipe. Now I know what I’m making for dinner tonight. Yum.

    • Leslie

    David, I love your blog and newsletter. Having moved back to California after living in Paris for a number of years, you bring my much preferred “home” back to me each day.

    I do have a question, though, regarding the Bechamel. Is it de rigeur? I’m wondering if the dish is workable without it. Please advise – and thanks!

    • thefolia

    I love endive! I never even thought to make it with a béchamel…maybe I will give this a shot. Happy Nesting.

    • Colin

    My thoughts are that endives are probably the most overrated vegetable.
    I laughed when a friend in Barbados bought some imported endives for a dinner party and could not understand why they were so expensive and so lacking in real flavor. None of her dinner guests enjoyed the bitter flavor. If I want bitterness I use bitter gourd or kerela.

    • Annabel

    Actually, I am far more likely to steam them rather than boil them, as I don’t cook vegetables in water if I can help it, these days (except swede, and only then if I want a mashed root vegetable dish as part of supper). And I agree, baking them sounds lovely, but I’m not sure I could get my act together enough to do them like that and then wrap them in ham, etc, on a school night!

    • Stephanie

    LOOOOOVVVEEE this dish but since it has been so warm, I haven’t thought about it yet. I just added endive to my grocery list and this will be tomorrow’s dinner! Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Jan

    Oh for a reasonably priced supply in Australia. They are around A$6 for two here. Consequently, when I stay in France, I live on them, their flavour is so wonderful.
    Love them as a salad with grapefruit, hazelnuts and nut oil, and as a gratin in winter. I make it in the same way, and agree the flavour is better when roasted rather than parboiled, and yes, the next day they are even better. Thank you David.

    • Mumimor

    Thank you! When I was young, my parents lived in Belgium for long periods of time, and this was one of the three dishes I found so delicious, I rarely had others when I visited. (The others being moules frites and lapin).
    I’ve tried to make it, but not succeeded – now I realize the initial butter-roasting makes all the difference. Your recipe will certainly be on the menu during the holidays!

    • laura

    Ohhh this has triggered such nostalgia! I LOVED this as a kid, haven’t eaten this meal in far too long.

    • Karen

    I like to print many of your recipes out for my files, but unless I’m overlooking it, there is no “Print” command and it is tricky to try to copy only the recipe portion of the post and print it in Word. Is there any way you could easily attach a print function to the post so only the necessary photos and instructions can be printed to save paper?


      • David
      David Lebovitz

      You can cut and paste recipes into a word processing document, like Word or Pages, then print them out. Or use a service like Print What You Want.

    • Sandra Alexander

    Somewhere along the culinary road I picked up the idea of infusing the milk to use in a bechamel. Put your two cups of milk in a small saucepan, and add a small onion stuck with 4 or 5 cloves, a small chopped carrot, a stick of celery, a stem of parsley, a few peppercorns and a bay leaf. Bring the milk to a simmer, watching carefully. Then take it off the heat, cover it and leave it to steep for an hour or so. Strain the milk into a bowl or another saucepan and discard the vegetables. Actually, don’t discard the vegetables – remove the bay leaf and spices, chop the onion a bit and stir the whole milky mess into the dog’s next dinner, it will be a hit!

    • Franck verhaeghe

    Pardon my fresh but “Chicons au gratin” is Belgian as the Pomme Frites are

    • infosteph

    “Chicons” are what endives are called in Cambrai and most of northern France. Whatever you call them, they are delicious!

    • Valerie

    David, read the book “Why We Get Fat” by Gary Taubes, and you will come to think that this dish is probably one of the most healthiest things one could possibly eat, and certainly won’t hurt your waistline! :)

    Looking forward to trying it myself! thanks!

    • Caroline

    Made it tonight, in half the time. Split endives lengthwise etc, jacked up the oven, grilled et voila! It was PERFECT! Thank you! ( and used very good Parmesan as I had no other cheese) happy husband and very happy me!

    • Michael

    This recipe sounds wonderful and I can’t wait to try it. I first discovered the delights of “cooked” endive through a recipe for braised endive with prosciutto and cream that was published in Molly Stevens’ “All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking.” As noted here, endive is delicious when roasted in butter; it’s also wonderful when sauteed first and then braised with a mixture of wine (or vermout) and stock. Many thanks, David, for giving us yet another way to enjoy endive.

    • Rob Handel

    The first time I had endives I used a recipe given to me by my college French professor. They were gratineed, but the recipe just had you caramelize the endives, add a splash of cream and reduce, then top with gruyere and brown. So simple, but so very good. I’ve since learned that caramelizing some onions along with the endives is a good way to sweeten them if you’re concerned about the bitterness

    • johanna

    wow, wow, wow-

    this is THE. PERFECT. winter. dish.
    endives are my fave winter veggie.

    thank you!! such a timely idea!

    hope it’s ok to leave out the ham though? I don’t like it for some reason, sacrilege, i know..

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      Yes, you can certainly leave out the ham, no problem.

    • Franck Verhaeghe

    There’s a wonderful cookbook called Everybody Eats Well in Belgium that has great endive recipes

    • Patsi Minnes

    Dinner tomorrow night for sure…….have you tried a salad combining, endive, avocado and mushrooms with some fresh tarragon in the dressing……tasty
    And bless you for the truffle recipe, that is also a tomorrow task. Tks,pm

    • Laura

    Hi there-

    I usually avoid endive because I can’t stand how bitter it is. how much bitterness goes away when roasting? This looks like a terrific dish…but I hesitate thinking that the bitter factor will ruin it for me.


    Laura in NYC

    • Amy

    This looks amazing. I’ve never had endive (it doesn’t seem to be particularly popular on the west coast of Canada, although I’ve driven past a huge “We [heart] endive!” sign a few times on the edge of a farmer’s field a few hours away that has piqued my interest. I think I’ll have to scout some of the nicer groceries stores in my area and see if I can find some. I love braised leeks – does endive taste somewhat similar?

    • Calum

    Mmm, this sounds lovely, and the perfect cosy supper for these chilly nights.
    Is endive the same thing as chicory? Can get that here in Scotland (in Waitrose) but thanks for the suggestions to use leek – might try that – it will be much cheaper!

    • margot nightingale

    I have nicknamed this dish Madame.

    My college-aged niece came to Paris two years ago for a semester abroad. She let out la chambre de bonne in one of the last few hôtel particulaires owned by a private family in Montparnasse. Madame would often serve this dish which my niece would rave about afterwards (we live down the hill by Place Breteuil.) I have been wanting to try it for months now.. Je l’attack!

    • Kelli

    I just read your newsletter and stopped in my tracks when I read, “where chef Haan Palcu-Chang did a special menu for the event, frying up bœuf bourguinon sandwiches(amazing)”. This sounds DELICIOUS!! My signature dish is bœuf bourguinon. I make it every year for Christmas dinner for my family…I’m going to have to quadruple my recipe and hide it from my family so I can try this! Can you please explain how the sandwich is fried and what type of bread was used?

    • Lieve Du Bois

    Note the difference between endives “witlof” coming from hydro culture and those grown in soil. The full soil ones have much more taste, but of course this has a price : more than double but worth it. I use Parmesan cheese – of course home grated.

    • Roberta Yoshimura

    Looks Yummy ! I can’t wait to try this recipe. I just have to find a bag of Belgian endives in Seattle that look as wonderful as the ones in the photo :-)

    • Natalie @ In Natalie’s Shoes

    Wow! This sounds absolutely amazing. Last night, I had some slow-roasted endives at one of Napa’s newest restaurants. I was so in love with the taste and texture–something that surprised me! Thanks for sharing!

    • Pien Maltz-Klaar

    I’m form Holland originally and grew up with this dish.
    Just learned to do it in a different way.
    Boil the andives till almost soft.
    Squeeze out some of the water and put them in an oven proof dish.
    Wrap in smoked ham slices.
    Top with grated cheese of choice.
    Put a nice lot of bread crumbs on top and dot with butter.
    Bake in oven till top is golden crispy.

    • Amy -Hunting Valley, Ohio

    David, you could probably make a baked stick sound appealing. There’s just something wonderful and warm about your posts. We’ve never met but your writing makes me feel like we’re old friends. Thanks for this nice slice of life.

    • Robi

    I found the ingredients at my local PCC market in Seattle area and made this wonderful dish today. I used Prosciutto. The only thing I would change is to reduce the amount of Prosciutto I used to make it less salty, but otherwise it was a beautiful dish.
    Thanks David

    • Kathleen

    A few years ago my husband and I hit on endive gratin as a New Year’s Eve dish (sans ham). Now I make it every year, as part of our small but festive end-of-year buffet. Simple but mouth-filling and delicious. And as you say, not exactly spa cuisine—but who cares?

    • cybele

    David, I followed your recipe tonight and cooked the endives as a side dish to the main: Poulet Fermier au Vinaigre thinking the vinegar sauce would be the perfect balance to the rich Bechemel blanket on the endives. Was the combination over the top? I don’t think so. There’s no way we can duplicate French recipes without using French meats, fish, vegetables, dairy, given the terroir and la mer from whence they came but, damn, if this recipe didn’t take me and my husband right back to France which we left 2 weeks ago. BTW, in Sonoma County endives are about $7 a pound at our local locally owned market.

    • Madonna/aka/Ms. Lemon

    I just made this and it is delicious, but when I make it next I will follow your technique; I will roast my endives before I make the gratin. fyi – I bought 5 endives for $2.69 at Trader Joes. I stalked the produce isle until I saw they received in fresh ones.

    • ttw

    Probably too rustic of a dish for it be served at a restaurant :(
    Well, it’s also a French school’s cafeteria classic, so probably another reason it’s not the best to put on a menu. Actually, I don’t recall ever seeing it on a menu, have you?

    • infosteph

    ttw – I found it on a bistrot menu in Lyon several years ago…and, of course, ordered it and savored every bit.

    • Adella

    This is the classic, homey dish that French families ate “en famille” in the ’60s. I loved it then and love it now.

    • Debbie

    I had hoped to make this for a get together this week but could not find belgian endive. I did have leeks, so I made it with those and some cooking adjustments. It was delicious and well-received. But now I absolutely want to try it with the endive, which could only be better.

    • Carolyn Herowski

    This dish sounds and looks absolutely delicious and I would love to try it! What would make a nice main dish to this? (The simpler the better!!) Thank you so much! Love, from Niagara Falls

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      I would say that “simple” is the keyword, and would serve it with a big salad with a mustardy dressing. If you wanted to serve it with something more hearty, grilled sausages, would be appropriate. And white wine!

    • hulsta

    Sometimes I eat a bite of something and wonder, “Why are we humans even eating this stuff? There are so many better tasting options out there!” This was, unfortunately, one of those times.

    I had never eaten endives before, and thought I couldn’t go wrong with all this bechamel and cheese and ham. Which were all perfect, mind you. It’s just the endives were too bitter for me. I don’t know, maybe -okay, probably- I did something wrong. Maybe at 35 I’m still not adult enough to enjoy “hard” foods. Or maybe the endives were not meant to be eaten. Ever. EVER!!

    • Pratsina Glitsa

    Try using them on their own accompanied only by bananas and a vinaigrette in a salad for a sweet/sour/bitter experience

    • LilouFleur

    Just got back from a trip to Brussels and this lovely homey and comforting dish was on the menu of typical Belgian fare at a cozy restaurant on the Grand Place, so I decided to make it again at home in Paris. (And yes, for the French, it is 1960s family and school cafeteria fare. But still good, and who says “grandma’ s food” is not?!) As a busy mom, I make the endives in my pressure cooker in the holder above water, press the extra humidity out before baking so the dish is not too watery. And, when I feel like making a béchamel that is lower fat, I use low fat milk and add some cornstarch and less butter…still works, but not as good tasting of course as full fat stuff!) Yum.

    • Annabel

    Hulsta, if you don’t like endives – and not everybody does – then use leeks instead. Equally delicious, but different.

    I’m just back from a short break in France, and was pleased to buy a packet of four “cooking” endives (as opposed to salad ones) – they only seemed to come in 1 kg packs, which is far too much for the two of them, and my daughter shares Hulsta’s distaste for them, so I couldn’t share with her.

    So I made this tonight. Instead of pre-baking them for an hour, which I didn’t have time for, I compromised – steamed them in the microwave for five minutes, then “slow-fried” them in butter for 20 minutes, turning once. Then wrapped them in ham and put in an oven-proof dish. I used what was left in the pan to make a whisked sauce (so much easier than a roux, it doesn’t go lumpy) with 200 ml milk and 2 tsp flour, 1/4 tsp dry mustard powder, salt and pepper, and some grated cheese (the end of a hunk of goats’ hard cheese that wanted using). Topped with some grated Beaufort (the end of our French picnic lunch cheese), and served with mashed potato. It was gorgeous! Worth the extra time.

    Now, what shall I do with the second pair?

    • Wendy

    Just curious…..what am I looking for in a cooked endive? Mine were grey-green by serving time and sorta tasted like asparagus. Am I even close?

      • franck verhaeghe

      We ( in Belgium) before we braise them we sprinkle lemon juice over them and then some brown sugar….braise them in butter….
      THE BEST

      • David
      David Lebovitz

      Like most long-cooked vegetables (onions, leeks, celery, etc), the endives will lose their color as they soften and braise. They will definitely be grayish, which is natural.

        • Wendy

        Ah, thank you. My husband loved them, me, not so much. I may try again with just the browning in butter. I like a bit of crunch. And color!

    • Maaike

    You put this recipe on your website quite some time ago, but only recently I discovered it. I’ve made it a couple of times since then. This is such perfect comfort food, it’s so easy to make and so full of flavour.
    A French friend of mine told me her mum prepares this for lunch quite often, the exact same way. Thanks for sharing David!


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