I had to make a side dish for our small group this last week and I looked through the recipes I had marked in past blogs and came up with this recipe for Endives Au Gratin. I remember reading this post over a year ago and thinking it sounded really good, although up to that point I had only had endives once I think. So I went to HEB prepared to make my purchases. I know I’ve seen Belgian endives at HEB before but they didn’t have any and the produce man told me they never carry them – hmmm. Well, I had already purchased the other ingredients – ham and cheese (neither of which were super cheap), so I decided to persevere. I called Sprouts during my lunch break to confirm that they had some. They did, so I drove up to Round Rock to pick them up. I got there and searched the produce section without luck. I walked up to the Sprouts produce man, Juan, and asked him if they had any Belgian endives, he said “oh, you’re the lady who called! I just threw them out, I’m sorry! I would have given them to you at a discounted price!” There were so many things wrong with what I just said and I felt totally defeated to top it off. First of all, I had called a mere 20 minutes before and generally if someone calls and asks if you have something it’s because they are going to come to your store to pick it up!!! And secondly, if they were at the point of throwing them out then he shouldn’t have told me they even had any! He must have thrown them out as soon as he got off the phone with me which totally doesn’t make sense! Still, I had to make the dish as soon as I got off work so I called Whole Foods in the Arboretum and headed that direction. They had a lovely selection of Beligan endives and I quickly picked out the 12 I needed for the recipe (after trying to find parking at the Whole Foods in the Arboretum at lunch time, which isn’t possible so I parked way far away). I got up to the register and they rang up to $20!!! Yikes – I didn’t know what to do but I knew I wasn’t spending that much on them. The cashier was very nice to me and in the end I decided to purchase half of them and just cut them in half – again if Sprouts had kept them then I wouldn’t be purchasing expensive organic endives! The saga pretty much ends there…but it was quite the trip!
So, I did cut them in half, which I think was a good call anyway. If you read through the recipe, it’s pretty funny! I wish all recipes were written like that! I used beer instead of wine and I could definitely taste it when I ate it later. I also used 2% instead of whole milk because that’s what I had on hand. I also wasn’t able to procure the ham she suggested, but the stuff I got still tasted good. In the end, I think they turned out how they were supposed to. But I have to admit, my favorite part was not the endive but the bechamel sauce and the cheese – oh, how I love Gruyere. I don’t know if I would make this again, but I think I would make the sauce and cover something else in cheese – maybe asparagus wrapped in prosciutto!