dimanche 11 novembre 2012

Be Chic! Cook Grilled Chicon!

My dear, poor, non-French people,

Let me tell you one thing. "La vie, c'est de la m...", as my grande amie Maha always says. Life is a bitch. You never get exactly what you wish for and alway miss what you don't have. 
Take me for example. I live in California, where the weather is 600 times better now than the rainy foggy Paris in November. 
And what do I dream of ? Cobb Salad on Malibu Beach ? Pas de chemin Joseph (I guess that's how you would translate "Now way Jose").
I dream about endives au jambon, les amis.

Endives au jambon


6 Endives

6 slices of Jambon blanc

1,5 oz flour

1,8 oz butter

2,5 cup milk

Grated gruyere

Jambon blanc is one of the best jewel of French charcuterie. Sérieusement
My dear uncle Bernard pretends that the best in the world is made and sold in the Rue de Verneuil, not far from the Orsay Museum in Paris. 

But I can't afford the jet ticket to the Left Bank every other day, so I was delighted when I found a fairly ok one in the market this week.

Click on the pic to know where to buy this jambon

This white cured ham is in every French fridge. It's the main ingredient of the popular "Sandwich Parisien" (Baguette, butter, gruyere cheese on Jambon blanc) and also a must have for all the "never getting fat" Parisiennes: this ham is poor in calories and rich in protein.

Now it's parfait grilled with Endives. 
This strange vegetable is grown in the dark, mostly in the North of France, where it's called Chicon. 
You can also eat it in salad, with some blue cheese and walnuts for example, but it is a totally different plaisir when cooked: it gets bitter, but in a great way, the kind of taste you pull a face at when you're a kid, but adore when you get older. 
And it's a great veg' to keep your youth in, as it's one of the rare natural ingredient full of selenium, a great anti-oxydant.

And how do we marry them? With a great white dress, and a perfect sauce: béchamel. This French classic was invented 4 centuries ago for the young duke of Bechameil and is now synonym of French and Perfect comfort food. It's not that diet, so I invented another "girly version" without it, which is also a délice, a delight.

La recette

Preheat the oven at 450°F

Trim the endives, and caramelize them in a non stycky pan. (you can add butter if you want, but you can also try not to get too fat)

Add one inch of water, cover and let simmer for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, go for the bechamel...
Mix the flour with 10cl of milk.
Put the rest of the milk into a boil, and add the flour mixture when the milk is bubbling.

Stir Stir Stir Stir Stir Stir Stir Stir Stir Stir Stir Stir Stir

Add salt and pepper.
When the sauce has reduced enough to your taste, add the butter in small bites.
Lick the spoon and go to heaven.


Lay the cooked endives in an oven pan

Dress them each with a slice of jambon

Pour the bechamel

Add the grated cheese
(or, if you're going léger skip the bechamel part and add a pinch of cheese)

Put in the oven for 20 minutes (15 for the without sauce version)


Voilà !

The French and perfect way to eat your veggies and yout protein and your calcium while giving an orgasm to your palate...

Bon appétit les amis!

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