Strange but Great: Caramelized Endive w/ Serrano Ham

Who thinks of Belgium endive when making a salad or side dish?
Not me.

I serve it only as appetizers with a smoked fish spread inside. It is usually bitter tasting and only serves the purpose of little vehicles or boats to carry the dip.

Or so I thought.

This recipe will change your mind about endive forever.
We LOVED this. This is my new side dish for grilled meats and makes a lovely presentation.

It is another unusual, but fantastic recipe from the British cookbook Ottolenghi.

The recipe measurements are all in metric. Grams, ml, blah blah, and I didn't have the patience to look each ingredient up on the metric conversion chart and change it to ounces and cups, so I winged it and it came out terrific.

Ottolenghi's Caramelized Endive w/ Serrano Ham & Breadcrumbs:

4 Belgium endives (buy the freshest you can, without any brown edges), cut in half
4 tbsp butter
2 tsp sugar
2/3 cup fresh breadcrumbs (from a brioche or baguette)
3 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
sea salt & pepper
3-4 tbsp heavy cream (don't use milk or half & half, use the real stuff)
4 slices of Serrano Spanish ham (or good Prosciutto), each slice cut in half

Make your breadcrumbs. In a food processor pulse the bread slices until you get coarse crumbs. Add the cheese and thyme and combine.

Add the cream a little at a time, until it gets to be like a paste (not too wet).
Set the creamy crumb mixture aside.

Let's caramelize some endive spears!
Slice the endive into halves. In a heavy skillet or ridged grill pan, heat the butter with the sugar until bubbling.

Lay the endive halves cut side down and let cook about 3 minutes. Carefully lift them out of the pan and transfer to a baking dish. They should be shiny and have nice grill marks o them.

Spoon some of the cream breadcrumb mixture onto each endive spear and drape with a half slice of Serrano ham (a whole slice is probably too big to drape over the endive half).

Drizzle with olive oil and roast at 425F for 20 minutes. Let rest 5 minutes before serving.

Use a knife and fork and enjoy. Really yummy.


The JR said…
It's not a commmon ingredient around here.

Does grilling it make it less bitter?
Oui, Chef said…
Hmmmm...I, like you, have never seen endive as anything put a shovel for dips. I DO like the look of this dish though, and if you say its a keeper, then that's good enough for me. Yet another veggie to torture my kids with. - S
Anonymous said…
The one time I ate grilled lettuce was around 12 years ago, a fancy, bad restaurant meal in Spring Lake NJ at WHISPERS. Memorably, for I got pregnant that night, too. Didn't like the dish, but my kid's a winner.
I could eat this for lunch! Another great use for endive, or as Ina say's, "on deeve"
Joanne said…
I only like endives in very specific situations but cover ANYTHING in cured meat and I'll be totally satisfied.
This is the second awesome endive recipe I've seen today! And it looks delicious. I'm totally frustrated that I never learned the metric system well enough that I don't have to look every single thing up! Winging it is better sometimes anyway :)

Most unusual---but it looks and sounds delicious. I love the bitterness and crunchiness of raw endive. I've never heard of cooking it.
SarahB said…
I can attest to this recipe's delicious factor! The sweet caramelized endive with the salty serrano ham is a winning combo.
OMG - sign me up! Looks and sounds delicious:)
Anonymous said…
They look so cute and petite :)
So chic!

i love endives... braise with honey or even café... bake it with jambon blanc and comté... or make a salad with walnuts, pear and comté ...