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The idea for this recipe came from a classic, old school dish: endive gratin. The endive is blanketed in ham, settled into a gratin dish, and smothered in béchamel and Gruyère. It comes out of the oven bubbling and hot, and a study in why opposites attract: The salt from the ham and the cheese is sliced by the bitter, collapsing-crisp endive. Fabulous.
Or would be fabulous, if it weren't summer. I, myself, am already bubbling hot and don't need another reminder of how uncomfortable that makes me. Plus, I wouldn't be a girl if I didn't at least hesitate (okay, maybe tremble and quake) before the juxtaposition of gratin and bikini. So this summer version takes the original idea of the endive gratin, pairs it with a familiar salad of endive and walnuts, and ends up with something delicious that resembles neither.
I wrap the Belgian endive halves in Jambon de Bayonne slices or prosciutto. Grilling the endive crisps the ham to an almost bacon snap, and causes the endive to just soften, leaving it far more crisp and summery than in the gratin version. Garnish the simple vegetable, which I serve both as salad and side dish, with some toasted walnut halves and a dabble of good olive oil. Serve with lemon wedges, and voila. A way to bring France to the all-American summertime grill.
About the author: Kerry Saretsky is the creator of French Revolution Food, where she reinvents her family's classic French recipes in a fresh, chic, modern way. She also writes the The Secret Ingredient series for Serious Eats.