I have to let you in on a secret. I’ve been cooking recipes from French Women Don’t Get Fat, and don’t tell anyone, but they’re delicious! And simple. I saw this endive with tomato sauce recipe and couldn’t really visualize it, but I’ve made enough of Mireille’s recipes (her lentil soup was divine!) to trust her judgment. So off to the market I went to purchase organic endive and tomato sauce.
Endive is a perimeter ingredient for most of us in America, something we’ve had but never think to buy ourselves. A surprise to many, endive is absolutely wonderful when broiled, baked or grilled; slightly bitter, light and utterly satisfying. This recipe tastes like lasagna and is good for three days in the refrigerator. Simply warm leftovers in the oven and before you know it, your family will hound you asking, “What’s for dinner?!”
I’ve made a few adaptations, such as using aged goat cheddar instead of the Swiss. I’d recommend using any flavorful, artisan cheese that melts nicely. Parmigiano is a must.
4 Belgian endives (preferably organic)
4 slices deli-style ham
2 cups tomato sauce (I used Lucini Organic Rustic Tomato Basil sauce)
2 oz Swiss, grated
2 oz Parmigiano Reggiano, grated
1 tablespoon butter
1) Rinse the endives, cut bottoms and cook in slightly salted water until tender, about 6 minutes. Some of the leaves will fall off; remove those from the water at 1 minute and set into a strainer while you wait for the rest to finish.
2) Spread a thin layer of sauce in a greased baking dish, layer the singular leaves that fell off at the base of the dish (as you would lasagna).
3) Preheat oven to 375*F. Wrap a slice of ham around each endive and secure with a toothpick. Pour the tomato sauce over the endives; sprinkle the cheese on top and dot with the butter.
4) Put the gratin in the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Finish with 1 minute under the broiler to give it a nice brown top. Serve warm with country bread and a simple green salad.