Pastrami Rolled Endives ‘Au Gratin’

Dec 18, 2012 by

As the holiday decorations are brought out of the attic, so are those relentless annual holiday recipes, which invariably include: tubers, Brussels sprouts and string beans.

I don’t know what your take on this is, but I am so bored of them! Feeling frustrated, I found myself on the floor of Barnes and Noble’s scouring cookbooks for inspiration. Then voila. I found a beautiful picture of “endive en jambon gratiné” or rather endives wrapped in ham – a Belgian classic.

Endives are recognized as ‘white gold’ in Belgium. However outside of Belgium, the poor layered leaf is no more than a bitter passing thought.

If prepared correctly (involving a simple selection process and a quick snip), the sharpness is barely there and if you are really good, she might even yield her sweeter side.

I was taking a shine to pretty bulb-like endives wrapped in chiffon-like slices of cured meat and finished in a coating of béchamel. It would look refined and taste gourmet! Isn’t that the goal for the festive period!

I chose pastrami instead of ham to add a ‘Christmassy’ echo of spice from peppercorns and coriander seeds and light sweetness from the sugar. We ran a trial run last night just to be sure. It emerged bubbling from the oven with patches of caramelized cheese. The look on everyone’s face told me that she was ‘a winner!’



Just a few tips on endive selection according to Belgian friend and restaurateur Yves Jadot:

1) The leaves should be smooth and tight
2) Leaves should be white and yellow
3) Trim the stem (the bottom by 3 mm) and cut out the core
4) Don’t wash the endives, just wipe them clean


Recipe for Pastrami Rolled Endives ‘Au Gratin’


4 whole endives, trimmed by 1/8 of cm from the base and sliced in half along it’s length
1 TBSP. butter
1 TBSP. vegetable oil
1 TBSP. water
1 tsp. sugar

3 TBSP. butter
2 TBSP. All purpose/ Plain Flour
1/8 TSP. nutmeg
2 cups of hot milk
1 cup grated sharp Irish cheddar/ Gruyere (reserve half for the final stage)
¼ TSP. fresh cracked black pepper
¾ TSP. table salt

8 slices of Pastrami


Heat oven to 400 degrees

1) Heat oil in the pan, add butter and melt it down (the oil will prevent butter from burning)
2) Place the endives, inside part facing down on the pan and allow to brown
3) As it starts to pick-up color, turn the pieces over and add 1 TBSP. water to soften through. Cook for 3 minutes
4) Sprinkle with half the sugar, turn the pieces over and sprinkle other half with sugar. Allow the sugar to melt (but not burn)
5) Remove endives. Wrap in endive slices and set aside on oven proof plate

1) Melt butter in a pan on medium heat, whisk in the flour and cook for a couple of minutes
2) Whisk in the hot milk and allow to thicken in to a sauce so it coats the back of a spoon without dripping immediately
3) Add half the cheese, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Allow the cheese to fully melt in to the sauce
4) Spoon over the endives (liberally or just coating the endives). Sprinkle with remaining cheese and breadcrumbs. Bake in the oven at 400 degrees until it is heated through, and the cheese is bubbly and gooey. Set it to broil for final couple of minutes for those lovely golden brown patches


  1. Daisa

    This is great!! Everyone always uses ham or prosciutto for wrapping – thanks for breaking a really boring convention…as for the endives, I have never been a fan, but you have my attention with this recipe. I will let you know how they come out

  2. Jen

    Genius use of endive!! My Belgian hubby will be excited when I make this


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>