Successfully transposing Braised endives with ham, béchamel and cheese using Bok Choy

There is a recipe that I just didn’t like at all when I was kid, and like many things in life, I came to appreciate with age. This dish is the rolled braised endives in ham with grated cheese and béchamel sauce. It is a lovely filling meal, between the gratin and the casserole, and which is best served with a simple green salad – and a glass of unoaked Chardonnay sounds like a great option! The tangy lightly bitter taste of the endives is very well balanced with the salty cheese and ham combination, all wrapped with the béchamel sauce which offer a base that helps in marrying these distinguished flavors. Kids are usually put off by the slight bitter taste of the endive…

Since I live in the US, I realize endives are not such a common vegetables, here – at least here in New-England. And as much as I like great food, I do have common sense that prevents me from buying expensive imported products if I can work with alternatives. And I made several trials with braised Bok Choi, and it just works so well. Thanks once again to Boston Organic that keeps me challenged! If you like ham, cheese, green veggies, and béchamel, you ought to try this recipe!

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Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs of Bok Choi
  • 2 to 3 cups of béchamel sauce (recipe here)
  • 8 thin slices of virginia ham (or any moist ham you like)
  • 1,5 cups of grated cheddar (or any tangy cheese you like)
  • olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper

Steps:

  1. Slice lengthwise in 2 or 3 parts, rinse thoroughly and blanch your bok choi (Blanching means drowning the veg for 3 minutes in boiling water, and letting rest so it release the water)
  2. Preheat your oven at 400°F
  3. Prepare you béchamel sauceIMG_1465
  4. On a flat oven dish pour 3 table spoon of olive oil, one ladle of béchamel, and layer half of your ham
  5. Dispose your blanched and dried bok choi evenly on the ham, add salt (1/2 teaspoon is enough)IMG_1467
  6. Spread half of your grated cheese, another ladle of béchamel and cover with the leftover of your ham
  7. Top of with the rest of the cheese, béchamel and nutmeg. IMG_1470
  8. Cooked for 40 minutes in the middle of the oven.IMG_1478
  9. Served with a little cracked pepper on top, with a simple green salad on the side.

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