Thursday, June 2, 2022

Belgian Endive with Asparagus in a Creamy Sauce @LucyBurdette

LUCY BURDETTE: I have developed a thing for Julia--Julia Child that is. I realize I’m a little late to the party! I roared through the eight episodes of the new miniseries from HBOMax called Julia and loved every minute of it. (There are some reasonable complaints about how accurate their version of the story is, but after all it’s fiction—exactly like the books we write!)

 Once I’d finished watching the show, I went back and read MY LIFE IN FRANCE by Julia Child, written with her great nephew Alex Prud’homme. It’s an amazing story about a woman who started her life's journey not knowing how to cook anything, and became the expert on French food in the US and abroad, with multiple complex cookbooks to her name. So I’ve had French food on my mind, and when I saw fresh endive for sale at the farmers market I asked the question “what would Julia cook?“ Maybe it would have been something like this… 

Cook's notes: Most of the versions I've seen did not include asparagus, but we had some in the garden and I thought it would make a good addition. I prefer not to eat pork and ham, but my husband loves it. So I wrapped some of the endive in prosciutto and some in maple turkey.


Two large or three smaller endive heads

One cup shredded Gruyere cheese

One cup whole milk

2 tablespoons butter, unsalted

2 tablespoons flour

Half a teaspoon Dijon mustard

Sprinkle of nutmeg

Several slices of prosciutto or ham or maple turkey

Maybe a dozen spears of asparagus

Freshly ground pepper

The endives I bought were enormous, so I thought I'd better take the advice of several cooks online and steam the vegetables before baking the dish. Slice the endive lengthwise and steam them for 10 to 15 minutes until soft. Let them cool and drain on a dish towel.

Meanwhile, make a bechamel or cream sauce. Melt the butter in a small sauce pan, stir in the flour and mustard and whisk until smooth and thick. Slowly add the milk, whisking as you go, and continue to cook over low heat until thick. Take the pan off the heat and stir in the shredded cheese. Taste for salt, and add a shake of nutmeg.

Grease the pan and layer the asparagus spears on the bottom. Wrap each half endive in a slice of ham or turkey, and place on top of the asparagus. 

Pour the prepared sauce over the top of the vegetables, add several grinds of pepper, and bake at 375 for 15 minutes. 

Turn the heat up to broil, bake until bubbly and starting to brown. Serve with a nice green salad.

A DISH TO DIE FOR, #12 in the Key West food critic mystery series, will be out on August 9. 
Kirkus Reviews said: 
“Key West food critic Hayley Snow proves once again that she understands crime as well as cuisine. A suitably steamy background for a complex tale of murder and deceit.” 

About A Dish to Die For:

Peace and quiet are hard to find in bustling Key West, so Hayley Snow, food critic for Key Zest magazine, is taking the afternoon off for a tranquil lunch with a friend outside of town. As they are enjoying the wild beach and the lunch, she realizes that her husband Nathan’s dog, Ziggy, has disappeared. She follows his barking, to find him furiously digging at a shallow grave with a man’s body in it. Davis Jager, a local birdwatcher, identifies him as GG Garcia, a rabble-rousing Key West local and developer. Garcia was famous for over-development on the fragile Keys, womanizing, and refusing to follow city rules—so it’s no wonder he had a few enemies.

 When Davis is attacked in the parking lot of a local restaurant after talking to Hayley and her dear friend, the octogenarian Miss Gloria, Hayley is slowly but surely drawn into the case. Hayley’s mother, Janet, has been hired to cater GG’s memorial service reception at the local Woman’s Club, using recipes from their vintage Key West cookbook—and Hayley and Miss Gloria sign on to work with her, hoping to cook up some clues by observing the mourners.

But the real clues appear when Hayley begins to study the old cookbook, as whispers of old secrets come to life, dragging the past into the present—with murderous results.


  1. Very elegant! Nicely done.

  2. Julia Child's show was the first cooking show I watched when cooking became an interest for me after I was married in 1966. She made French dishes look doable! I've ordered endive in restaurants but have never had it at home or prepared as richly as this recipe does it. Looking forward to trying it. Thank you for sharing.

    1. You're welcome Linda. I hope you enjoy the dish as much as we did.