I’ve only really used endives a couple of times in the past, Mel & I once made this fabulous crab meat and grated radish salad for a New York Christmas eve party which transformed into a very pretty finger appetizer when scooped onto an individual endive leaf, it was incredibly tasty, but it’s only now I realise their full potential and adaptability. This recipe is another Ottolenghi favourite of mine that I just had to share. It can be prepared well ahead of time and is guaranteed to receive many murmurs of delight from friends around the table.
Caramelised Endive with Serrano ham
6 – 8 smallish endives
40g unsalted butter
4 tsp caster sugar
50g sourdough (or similar) breadcrumbs
70g freshly grated parmesan cheese
2 tbsp thyme leaves
120ml whipping cream
12 thin slices of Serrano ham
Olive oil for drizzling
Coarse sea salt and black pepper
Preheat your oven to 200C/gas mark 6.
Begin by slicing your endives into halves ready for caramelising – you will probably need to do this in a couple of batches depending on the size of your frying pan. Heat half the sugar and butter in a pan and place over a high heat, stir to mix it and as soon as the sugar starts to bubble lay the endive halves into the pan face down without any overlapping. Fry for 2-3 minutes until golden (don’t worry if your butter browns slightly). Remove and place caramelised side up on a baking tray lined with baking parchment and then repeat the process with the remaining butter and sugar for the next batch of endives. Sprinkle all with a little salt and pepper. Mix the breadcrumbs with the parmesan, thyme, cream, 1/4 tsp salt and grind of black pepper and spoon over the endives before topping each one with a slice of Serrano. Roast in the oven for 15-20 minutes, until the endives feel soft when poked with a knife. Serve drizzled with olive oil and a little extra sprinkling of the thyme leaves.
Prepare to savour. Lorna