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Recipe for braised endives with Parmesan sauce, tarragon, and orange

Serves 4

At Jason Blanckaert’s Ghent, Belgium, restaurant Jef, the chef serves endives with a sauce made of Oud-Brugge cheese and a tarragon-orange emulsion. For home cooks, he recommends using Parmesan, which goes into the sauce and is turned into crispy crackers for garnish. Blanckaert makes the restaurant dish with mushroom powder, the savory oomph of which is channeled here with Worcestershire sauce. Tarragon and orange complete the tastes, an unlikely but absolutely wonderful combination, which puts a spin on this Flemish classic.

1tablespoon butter
4endives, halved lengthwise
cups freshly grated Parmesan
3tablespoons flour
¾cup milk
Few fresh tarragon stems
¼teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
4thin strips orange rind (for garnish)
Extra fresh tarragon, leaves removed from stalks (for garnish)

1. Set the oven at 375 degrees. Have on hand a nonstick baking sheet.

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2. In a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium-low heat, melt the butter. Place the endives flat sides down. Cook 7 minutes without moving, or until brown. Turn, cover, turn the heat to low, and continue cooking for 20 minutes.

3. On the baking sheet, mix ½ cup of the Parmesan with 1½ tablespoons of the flour. Form into a flat pancake. Bake for 15 minutes, or until crispy and golden. Break into random shapes.

4. In a small saucepan over low heat, combine the milk and tarragon. Heat for 5 minutes, then remove from the heat, cover, and set aside for 5 minutes.

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5. Return the milk to medium-low heat. Gradually whisk in the remaining 1 cup Parmesan, stirring vigorously. Gradually whisk in the remaining 1½ tablespoons flour, stirring constantly, until sauce is thick and creamy. Whisk in the Worcestershire and turn the heat to low.

6. To serve: place two endive halves on each plate and spoon cheese sauce on top. Garnish with the Parmesan crackers, orange rind, and fresh tarragon. Luke Pyenson. Adapted from Jason Blanckaert

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