My dad was a wonder in the kitchen. He could whip up some amazing Chinese dishes, chicken liver pate, a mean stew and a perfect hollandaise. Toward the end, many things he cooked us we dubbed "fat cooked in fat"—crab, cream, butter and sherry simmered together and glopped on toast, a whole pile of fried chicken wings he called "dinner." One such dish I always loved was endive baked in a cheesy cream sauce with bacon. A real anomaly considering he otherwise avoided lettuce like the plague. But this dish was comforting and wonderful and I occasionally make it for a special treat. Along grilled rib eye, of course. It makes quite a bit of sauce which is good to sop up with bread or maybe serve over noodles. —savorthis
Test Kitchen Notes
Endive browned to perfection and then slathered in a cheesy cream sauce, topped with bacon and pecans? This is exactly how I take my lettuce on a chilly fall evening. I'm always a reluctant endive eater, but the sweet, nutty sauce laced with a hint of nutmeg complements the bitter endive well, and had me converted after a single bite. I used an aged gouda that worked quite well here. I also love that the whole recipe takes place in one pan before moving to the oven. It makes for a very easy cleanup! Overall, this recipe was a hit. —thebunalsorises
Render bacon on a large skillet on the stove, and set aside pieces on a paper towel. Add pecans to the bacon fat, stirring for a couple minutes, and add the pieces to the bacon. Pour off all but a couple tablespoons bacon fat down the endives, on each side. Place endive in a baking dish that can hold them all in a cozy fit.
Add butter and flour to pan, stirring for a few minutes. Add chicken broth and whisk until incorporated and beginning to thicken. Stir in cream and gouda, nutmeg and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Pour cream mixture over endive, grate some parmesan on top and bake for about 40 minutes until golden brown and bubbly. Garnish with bacon, pecans and chopped parsley.