I’d classify this as a vegetable side dish, but it’s about as rich and gluttonous as vegetables get. Endives can be bitter, but when caramelized, and paired with a rich gorgonzola cream sauce and honey, they are very delicious. This recipe was something I made fairly quickly after a trip to the farmer’s market, and next time, I will try it with slices of raw apples. Make sure to use good cheese (regular gorgonzola and not dolce, because the honey makes this sweet enough), and good, dark honey. If you have extra gorgonzola sauce after, it would be great on pasta or gnocchi.
Endive with Gorgonzola Cream Sauce and Honey, serves 4 as a healthy side portion
3 large endives, or 6 if they are small
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1½ cups walnuts
2 tbsp good quality, dark honey, plus extra for serving
2 tbsp flour
1 cup whole milk
6 oz Gorgonzola, crumbled
Toast the walnuts in a dry pan over high heat for 5-10 minutes. They will be ready as soon as you start to smell them; make sure to watch them closely, so they do not burn. Allow to cool. Then chop and mix with 2 tablespoons of honey, and set aside.
Cut the endives in half lengthwise. Leave the core intact so they stay together; you can remove it later if you want. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a large pan over medium high heat. When the pan is hot and the butter begins to sizzle, place half of the endive pieces, cut-side down, into the pan. Brown the edges (this will take 5-8 minutes), and then flip. Season with salt and pepper. When the edges have browned, reduce the heat to low and cook for another 10-15 minutes, so that they continue to soften. Remove and repeat with the next batch, adding more butter to the pan if needed.
Starting the gorgonzola cream sauce will need your full intention, so you should do this before you start the endives, or while they are on low heat. In a small saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons of flour to the pan and stir continuously for about 5 minutes to cook out the raw flour taste, be careful not to brown the roux. Next, add the milk and continue stirring until all of the roux is fully mixed, creating a thick sauce. If it gets too thick, just add a little more milk. At this point, you will have a basic white sauce, also known as a béchamel. When the sauce is ready, turn the heat down to low and begin incorporating the cheese. Add about 2/3 of the cheese, and stir until melted. Add the remaining cheese to taste. Keep warm until ready to serve.
To serve, slice the endives in half again lengthwise, so it is now in quarters. Spoon a third of a cup of the gorgonzola sauce onto each plate, top with 3 endive pieces (or more if using smaller ones), a scoop of walnuts, and extra honey.