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    from "Everybody Eats Well in Belgium Cookbook" by Ruth Van Waerebeek

    This dish is very popular throughout Belgium and always a best-seller on bistro menus. For a light but complete meal, serve it with mashed potatoes and a crisp green salad and have some nice fresh bread on hand to scoop up the delicious sauce.

    Serves 6 to 8 as an appetizer or 4 as a light meal

    6 to 8 Belgian endives, cored, stems removed
    Juice of 1/2 lemon
    1/2 teaspoon salt, plus additional to taste
    3 tablespoons unsalted butter
    4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    3 cups milk
    1 1/2 cups grated Gruyère cheese
    Freshly ground black pepper to taste
    Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
    8 thin slices boiled ham

    Print recipe

    1. Put the endives in a saucepan with just enough water to cover. Add the lemon juice and the 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cover, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and let simmer until the endives are tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Drain well but reserve 1 cup of the cooking liquid for the sauce.
    2. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
    3. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, for 1 minute. Add the milk gradually, stirring with a wire whisk, then add the reserved cooking liquid. Cook, whisking to avoid getting any lumps, until the sauce is smooth and thickened. Let it simmer for 2 to 3 minutes longer. This is important to get rid of the pasty flavor of the flour. Remove from the heat and stir in 1/4 cup of the cheese. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and nutmeg.
    4. Butter a glass or enameled baking dish large enough to hold the endives in a single layer. Wrap each cooked endive in a slice of ham and place in the prepared dish. Pour the sauce over the endives and top with the remaining 1/4 cup cheese. (The dish can be made ahead up to this point and refrigerated or even frozen until you are ready to proceed.)
    5. Preheat the broiler.
    6. Bake 15 minutes, then finish the dish for 5 minutes under the broiler to brown the cheese. Serve immediately. This is one dish that cannot sit around because the sauce will get watery.
    Variations: If you omit the ham, this becomes a dish called Belgian Endive in Béchamel and makes a wonderful vegetable accompaniment to many main courses, most particularly to fricandeau (the Belgian version of meat loaf). The smooth, cheese-flavored béchamel makes this slightly bitter vegetable more palatable for children.

    Product nutrition and information
     Quantity Ingredients Est.Price
      Belgian Endive - $3.99/lb
     Farm Fresh
      Amish Country Farms Organic Whole Milk - $4.49/ea
     1/2 gallon
    1655 Cave-Aged Gruyère - $19.99/lb
      FreshDirect Ground Grenadian Nutmeg - $5.69/ea
    Schaller & Weber French Bistro Ham - $10.99/lb
    You May Already Have
      Breakstone's All-Natural Unsalted Butter - $2.49/ea
     2 sticks  
      Lemons - $0.95/ea Save! 6 for $5.40
     Farm Fresh, Med
      Gold Medal All Purpose Enriched Bleached Pre-Sifted Flour - $2.29/ea
      La Baleine Fine Sea Salt - $3.79/ea
      FreshDirect Tellicherry Peppercorns - $3.79/ea
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