Saint Agur and Chicory au Gratin

A warming winter starter, this classic bistro dish gets a slight spice from the delicate tang of crumbled Saint Agur. And if you’re not a fan of endive, this can be swapped for kale for an equally tasty alternative!

Preparation Time: 20 minutes

Cooking Time: 45 minutes

Serves: 4

Ingredients

  • 600ml milk
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 6 black peppercorns
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 2 parsley stalks (if you have them)
  • 80gm butter
  • 4 heads Belgian endive (you can use kale as an alternative if you prefer)
  • Nutmeg
  • 50gm flour
  • Cayenne pepper or black pepper
  • 100gm gruyère or comté cheese, grated
  • 4 slices cooked ham
  • 150gm Saint Agur Rich and Creamy Blue

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 160C. Place the milk in a saucepan along with the bay, peppercorns, onion and parsley stalk. Bring up to the boil. Remove from the heat and leave to one side for an hour to infuse.
  2. Melt half the butter in a heavy pan. When it’s just starting to foam add in the endives with a seasoning of salt, pepper and a good helping of freshly grated nutmeg. Turn down the heat and cook gently, turning frequently until nicely coloured on all sides. Cover loosely with foil and cook in the oven for about 40 minutes or until completely tender. Remove from the oven and set to one side. The outer leaves will need to be removed as they will be quite brown and crispy.
  3. While your endive is cooking away make your béchamel (white sauce). Reheat the infused milk. Melt the remaining butter, add the flour and cook for two minutes. Strain the hot milk into a jug and then whisk it into the flour mixture and keep whisking over a gentle heat and cook for a good five minutes. You are after a good thick glossy sauce. Season with a pinch of Cayenne pepper. Add the Gruyère and stir until dissolved. Check and adjust the seasoning as needed.
  4. Preheat your grill. Take the endives and wrap each one in a piece of ham and place them collectively in a gratin dish or singly in individual dishes.
  5. Cut or break up the Saint Agur into a small dice. Scatter half over the endives. Spoon over the hot béchamel. Scatter over the remaining Saint Agur and cook under the grill until your gratins are bubbling in a positive manner with a golden crust. Serve immediately & enjoy.