WHAT YOU NEED

Mornay Sauce ingredients:

  • 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 3 tbsp unsalted Ontario butter
  • 1.5 cups whole (3.25%) Ontario milk
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 2 springs thyme
  • ¼ large Spanish onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 oz grated Ontario emmental or gruyere-style cheese
  • 2 oz aged Ontario white Cheddar, grated
  • Kosher salt, to taste


Tip: The mornay sauce can be made ahead and refrigerated for up to 5 days in an airtight container.

Ingredients:

  • 8 heads of firm, larger size Belgium endives
  • 8 slices good quality cooked Ontario ham from your local butcher shop or deli
  • 3 oz grated hard Ontario cheese for sprinkling (Gruyere, emmental and sharp white aged Cheddars are best)

Mornay Sauce instructions:

 
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F for convection oven (or 375°F for still gas oven) while you start making the mornay sauce as this will take about 15 minutes.
  • In a 1 qt heavy-bottom sauce pot on low heat, melt – but do not brown - the butter. Add the flour and mix using a spatula until all is well incorporated (it should have the consistency of a soft cake batter).
  • Cook the roux gently for 5 minutes on low heat stirring every minute or so to prevent browning. 
  • Heat the milk separately in a small sauce pot with the aromatics (bay leaf, peppercorn, thyme, onion and garlic) and steep for 5 minutes at a low simmer.
  • Strain the milk through a fine mesh sieve and discard the solids.
  • Incorporate the hot milk slowly (a small ladle at a time) into the pot with the cooked roux, stirring vigorously with a spatula or small whisk until all the milk is incorporated into the roux.
  • Cook for another 2-3 minutes, stirring continuously to prevent the bottom of the pot from burning.
  • Next, whisk in the grated cheeses and continue to cook for a few minutes.
  • Season with kosher salt to taste.


Chef’s note: This ‘mother sauce’ starts as a béchamel, but when you add the cheeses, it becomes a mornay. All béchamel sauces start with making a blond roux which helps thicken the sauce and prevents it from splitting.

 

Roasting instructions:

 
  • Using a sharp paring knife, cut the endives in half lengthwise and remove a little of the brown bottom part of the heads.
  • Lay out the slices of ham on a clean counter or baking tray and wrap each endive piece into the ham.
  • Take a casserole dish and spread out some of the mornay sauce about a ¼ inch deep over the bottom.
  • Lay the ham-wrapped endives in the casserole dish and add a touch more mornay on top.
  • Sprinkle the grated cheeses on top and place in the preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes. When ready, the cheese and ham should have that beautiful golden-brown colour, the sauce should be bubbling and it should have that fantastic aroma of caramelized ham and cheese. You can use the broil setting on your oven to create a deeper coloured, caramelized crust if needed.
 

Chef’s Note: This mornay sauce is very versatile and great for many dishes such as mac and cheese, lasagna, scalloped potatoes and cauliflower gratin.

 

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