Exciting endive

This is a marvellous and very flexible thing to do with endive or chicory (or are they the same thing?) that you can adapt for vegetarians or carnivores. It's also very easy to prepare ahead and doesn't take long to cook.

So, this principle is based on a lovely thing I found in Ottolenghi: The Cookbook, where you caramelise the cut face of some endive, slather it with a creamy mixture and then bake. The ingredients here are my own concoction, but you can use whatever you've got that's close.

Caremelised endive:
For 2

2 endive
40g butter
2 tsp caster sugar
some thick-ish cream or creme fraiche
thyme or chives/parsley/coriander
breadcrumbs of any description
salt and pepper
bacon or pancetta

1 Pre-heat your oven to 200C. Slice the endive into halves.

2 Melt the butter and sugar together in a frying pan gently and when it starts to bubble, place the endives face-down in the pan and fry until brown - about 2 minutes. Don't worry if the butter goes brown. Remove and arrange face-up on a baking sheet.

3 Mix together your topping of breadcrumbs, cream and herbs and bacon or pancetta. I lightly fried the bacon I used first - needless to say, it would be just as nice without. Spread a few teaspoons of the mixture onto the top of the endive.

Cook for 20 minutes. Bingo.

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