12 Endives, medium to large size
12 slices ham
4 T flour
4 T butter
1 quart whole milk
½ lb Gruyere or Toma cheese, grated
1 t Nutmeg
salt and freshly ground pepper
Place endives vertically in a deep saucepan with one inch of water in bottom. Cover pan and bring to a gentle boil, cooking for 35–45 minutes until the endives are very tender. Remove endives from pan and place them upside down in a colander to drain.
Allow endives to cool. Gently squeeze to remove excess moisture then wrap each endive in a slice of ham and place in a single layer in a 9X13 baking dish. Set aside.
In a saucepan melt butter then whisk in flour to create a smooth roux, stirring constantly while cooking 1-2 minutes over a medium low heat. Slowly add the milk, again whisking constantly. Increase the heat slightly and cook until smooth and thick. Season the sauce with nutmeg and ¾ of the grated gruyere, whisking the cheese into the still warm sauce until melted.
Pour the sauce over the ham wrapped endives. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top.
Bake at 400 F for 35–40 minutes or until the sauce starts to bubble and cheese on top is golden brown.
Recipe contributed by Rich Collins, President, California Endive Farms.