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Before starting this Endive & Ham Gratin recipe, make sure you have organised all the necessary ingredients.
Remove the core at the base of each endive...
... and dig a tiny cone in the centre to remove the bitter part.
Place the endives into boiling salted water and cook for 15-20 minutes.
To check whether the endives are ready, stick the blade of a knife into one. The blade should stick easily.
In the meantime, make the bechamel sauce. First, make a white roux. Melt the butter in a saucepan.
Add all the flour at once.
Beat with a whisk. Cook for 2 or 3 minutes over medium heat, but make sure the preparation does not brow. A white roux should always remain pale.
Pour the boiling milk on the cold white roux.
Beat with a whisk until the roux has totally dissolved in the milk. Bring to a boil until the preparation thickens.
Season with salt, ground pepper and nutmeg.
Turn off the heat and reserve.
When the endives are cooked, gently remove from the boiling water...
... and drain. Let cool a bit and squeeze to get rid of the water excess.
Place the ham slices on a chopping board.
Wrap the endives with the ham slices. Count one slice of ham per endive.
Using a brush, butter a gratin dish.
Arrange the endives at the bottom of the dish.
Then pour the hot béchamel sauce.
Sprinkle the grated cheese on top...
... and arrange a few knobs of butter.
Preheat the oven to 220°C (gas mark 7) and bake for about 15-20 minutes, until the surface is nice and golden. (A convection oven with grill option is preferable.)
When cooked, remove from the oven.
This dish can be cooked ahead and reheated before serving.
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