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Braised Endive With Prosciutto

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Clearly a recipe that’s greater than the sum of its parts. But then again, I do love endive and I do love ham. It’s hard to explain the silky texture of the cream with the endive and how utterly delicious it is with the most unique mouthfeel. The prosciutto is a wonderful contrast.

From All About Braising by Molly Stevens

Ingredients
6 to 9 Belgian endive (about 1 1/2 pounds)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 thin slices of prosciutto (or Serrano), cut crosswise into 1-inch-wide strips with fat left on
coast salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/4 to 1/3 cup heavy cream

Method
1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter a large gratin dish or baking dish (9-by-13-inch).

2. Trim the endive by removing the outermost leaves and trim the bottom if they appear brown or dried out. Cut each endive lengthwise in half.

3. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over medium heat (nonstick or well-seasoned cast iron are good choices since the delicate leaves won’t stick or tear, but any decent skillet will do). When the butter just stops foaming, add as many endive, cut side down, as weill fit in a loose layer and cook until the cut sides are nicely browned, about 4 minutes. Using tongs, turn the endive and brown for a minute or two on the other side. Transfer the browned endive to the grain dish, arranging them cut side up. Add the remaining tablespoon of butter to the skillet and brown the rest of the endive. The endive should fit in a snug single layer in the gratin dish.

4. There should still be a film of butter in the skillet. Still over medium heat, add the strips of prosciutto to the skillet and turn to coat them with the butter. Tuck a few strips between the endive and drape the rest over the tops. Season with salt and pepper, keeping in mind that the prosciutto is salty. Add the stock to the skillet and bring to a boil over high heat. Scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to loosen any brown bits, and pour the stock over the endive and prosciutto.

5. Cover the dish tightly with foil. Braise until the endive are collapsed and tender when pierced with a sharp knife and have a true burnished hue, 30 to 35 minutes.

6. Remove the foil and baste the endive by spooning over any juices from the pan. If the pan is dry, add 2 tablespoons of water. Braise, uncovered, for another 8 to 10 minutes, unitl the pan juices have turned a caramel color and almost completely evaporated. Pour over the heavy cream–the lesser amount if you want something less rich tasting–and bake until the cream takes on a caramel color and thickens to a sauce-like consistency, another 6 minutes or so. Spoon over any pan drippings, and serve warm or at room temperature.

 

-- Also published on MattBites.com 

 

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