Belgian Endive au Gratin

By: Kara Mae Adamo.

Recipe thanks to:

A classic nineteenth century favorite, “au Gratin” dishes have reigned popular in both Europe and the Americas. French in origin, it literally translates to “with gratings” or “with cheese,” referring to the grated cheese and breadcrumbs that are typically sprinkled on top.

This recipe for Endive au Gratin pairs the earthy, slightly bitter taste of California Endive with the slightly salty sweetness of Gruyere cheese and salty ham for a delicious, savory dish everyone at your table with love. A bit of advice about the cheese: Gruyere of any age works well in the dish. Younger gruyere cheeses taste creamy and nutty, while aged gruyere becomes a bit more complex with earthy notes. Because the cheese will melt, the texture is unimportant. An understanding of the flavor of the gruyere you are selecting is mostly handy when picking out a wine to pair with your dish. If you’re using younger gruyere, for instance, a nice Riesling or sparkling cider or ale might go well with it…while something like a petit Chambord from 2005 would go better with one that’s aged 5 months to a year. The endive and ham might make you want to side a bit with the petit Chambord. As in every wine pairing, it really depends on your personal taste.


8 heads Belgian endive, trimmed

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 cup milk

1 cup grated Gruyere cheese, divided

2 teaspoons grated Parmesan cheese

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

Salt and ground Black Pepper (to taste)

8 slices deli-style ham

¼ cup chopped fresh parsley


Lightly grease a baking dish. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil over medium-high heat. Place the endives into the water. Cover, and cook until tender (for about 5 to 10 minutes.) Place the butter in a saucepan and melt over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and stir until the mixture becomes paste-like and golden brown. Gradually whisk the milk into the flour mixture, whisking constantly until thick and smooth. Stir in ¾ cup Gruyere cheese, Parmesan cheese, nutmeg, salt and pepper until well blended. Cook gently over medium-low heat for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Preheat an oven broiler to low. Drain the endives and wrap each endive with a slice of ham. Place them into the prepared baking dish. Pour the cheese sauce over the endives. Sprinkle with the remaining ¼ cup Gruyere cheese and parsley. Cook the endives under preheated broiler until the cheese is golden brown and the sauce is bubbling (for about 10 minutes.) If you would like, sprinkle the dish with breadcrumbs before baking.

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