Endive Braised in Crème Fraiche
Since endive is a bitter vegetable, I like to pair it with cream and cheese to tame the assertive flavor. The ham adds a salty meatiness and also makes the dish more substantial, though you can leave it out if you’d rather. Served with just bread and a salad, this dish is a light meal on its own. That’s how my mother and grandmother would serve it, though it also works well as part of a larger meal. If you pair it with a salad, try dressing some raw endive with vinaigrette for a good crisp contrast.
Makes4 to 6 servings
Total Timeunder 2 hours
OccasionCasual Dinner Party, Family Get-together
Recipe Coursemain course
Dietary Considerationmain course
Taste and Texturecreamy, salty, savory, sweet
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 14 heads Belgian endive, leaves separated
- Freshly squeezed juice of 1 lemon
- ¼ cup dry white wine
- Coarse sea salt or kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pound French ham (such as Bayonne) or prosciutto, sliced
- ½ pound Gruyère cheese, thinly sliced
- ½ cup creme fraiche
- ¼ teaspoon ground mace
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 300°F.
In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter and sugar. Add the endive leaves and lemon juice and cook until almost all the liquid in the pan has evaporated, making sure that the leaves do not color, 3 to 4 minutes.
Pour in the white wine and continue to cook until the endive leaves are evenly coated with the reduced pan liquid, about 2 minutes more. Season to taste with salt and pepper and let cool to room temperature.
Divide the endive leaves into 3 equal portions. Divide the ham and cheese into 3 equal portions as well. Put 1 portion of the endive leaves in an even layer on the bottom of a small cast-iron pot, Dutch oven, or casserole, followed by 1 portion of the ham. Brush one-third of the crème fraîche over the ham layer, season with salt, pepper, and mace, and put 1 portion of cheese on top. Repeat the layering two more times.
Cover with a buttered parchment round and transfer to the oven. Braise for 1 hour.
Preheat the broiler. Remove the parchment and broil for 15 minutes, or until the cheese is golden brown and bubbling.
2006 Daniel Boulud Ltd.