A proper Dutch winter meal. For an extra crisp top, you could sprinkle some grated cheese on it before placing it under the grill.
Belgian endive with bechamel sauce (serves 2)
500 g small potatoes
5 heads of endive
100 g cooked ham
20 g butter
20 g flour
250 ml milk
salt, pepper, mace
Cook the potatoes.
Prepare the endive, cut in half and remove the bitter and hard heart. Cook, steam or grill until done.
Make a bechamel. Melt the butter in a sauce pan. Add the flour, cook on low heat while stirring for about 1 minute. Gradually add the milk while whisking to prevent lumps. Cook for a few minutes while stirring. Season with salt, pepper and some mace.
Arrange the endive, potatoes and tuffs of ham in a baking dish. Pour over the bechamel. Place under a hot grill until it turns nicely golden (my grill wasn’t really cooperating, so the dish on the photo was rather pale, but still very delicious).
A delicious appetizer (maybe for your new years eve party?); a crisp outside and light and creamy filling. They need to be served immediately after cooking.
You can substitute the jamon for anything you like to flavour the béchamel. Try cooked chicken breast and cooked egg, chopped prawns, flaked cooked bacalao, wild mushrooms or grated well-flavoured cheese. Or maybe add some herbs. Or don’t make them Spanish style and fill them with something completely else.
The croquetas on the photo are slightly odd shaped. I was a bit impatient, I did not cool the mixture long enough, so it was quite impossible to handle. Normally, they are cork-shaped.
Croquettas de Jamon (serves 8 as a tapas/makes about 24)
Adapted from “Rick Stein’s Spain”
85 g butter
115 g flour
500 ml full fat milk
100 g good quality thinly sliced Spanish air-dried ham (like jamon Iberico or jamon Serrano)
salt and pepper
flour, egg and breadcrumbs for crumbing
vegetable oil for deep-frying
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and cook for 1 minute, then gradually stir in the milk, little by little, so that you end up with a silky smooth béchamel sauce. Bring to the boil and cook gently for about 5 minutes while stirring to cook out the flour.
Stir through the jamon and season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour into a bowl, then press some clingfilm on top. Place in the fridge for at least 6 hours (yes, really!) but ideally overnight, until really firm.
Take about 1.5 tbsp of the mixture and roll it into a cork-shaped barrel with lightly floured hands. Place on a large plate or something, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Take three shallow dishes, put some flour in the first, a whisked egg in the second and breadcrumbs in the third. Heat the oil for deep-frying to 190C. Take the croquetas from the fridge, cover with flour, coat in the egg and then dip into the breadcrumbs. Lower them in the hot oil and cook 2 minutes, or until lightly golden. Lift out and drain on kitchen paper, then serve immediately.
Traditionally, carpaccio is an Italian dish made with thin slices of raw beef, with a mayonnaise or olive oil dressing, some shavings of Parmesan and sometimes some rucola. Nowadays, carpaccio often refers to any dish consisting of a thinly sliced ingredient. And with all popular dishes, some version are incredible and some are really atrocious. But in the basis, it is a nice dish.
My way of making this takes a short-cut. I don’t use raw beef, but use pre-sliced roastbeef instead. This makes it a perfect simple and fast starter, for example when you have lots of people over for Christmas dinner. One less course to worry about. But because of the beef, it has still the luxurious feeling to it you want for a special occasion.
The recipe is really simple. Make a dressing by mixing some tasty mayonnaise with a little juice from a jar of pickles, and season with salt and pepper. Roast some pine nuts. Use a vegetable peeler to make some shavings of Parmesan (or another hard, salty, flavoursome cheese). Cover a plate with some slices of roastbeef, drizzle with a little of the dressing, and sprinkle with the pine nuts and Parmesan. If you like, dress some rucola with a little olive oil and place that on top.
Did you know you can use thinly sliced raw kohlrabi instead of cucumber on your sandwich? It gives a lovely fresh flavour, is juicy, but not as wet/leaky as cucumber usually is.
Kohlrabi Sandwich (makes 4)
Adapted from Allerhande
4 multigrain rolls
4 slices of cooked ham
100 g cream cheese with herbs
1 kohlrabi, peeled, in thin slices
Spread some cream cheese, place a slice of ham and put a few slices of kohlrabi on each roll.
Dried sausage (droge worst) is a firm, strong-flavoured sausage made from pork and air-dried. Which spices are used depends on where the sausage is made. Traditionally, mainly the northern provinces of the Netherlands (Groningen, Friesland, Drenthe) made these sausages, because the conditions were best for drying the sausages. Drying the meat was a good way of preservation.
I like Groninger dried sausage the best. It is the firmest (the dryer the better!) and has a lovely spicy clove flavour. Not everyone can make good sausages, it takes time to find a place where they sell real good sausage. Don’t buy the supermarket ones, they are of poor quality. And never trust someone outside of Groningen to make Groninger dried sausage, it’s just not the same. I have good memories of dried sausage, we used to get thumb-sized pieces to chew on when we were children, which we loved (both the chewing and the flavour). It is more elegant to serve the sausage in thin slices because it can be tough, but sometimes, when nobody is looking, I serve myself a large piece to chew on, for the nostalgia of good memories.
Dried sausage is mainly eaten as appetizer/snack with a drink, but you can use it in dishes. Because of the fat content slices crisp really well if you fry them, but they will loose flavour this way. Slices (crisped or “raw”) are very nice on another local speciality: mustard soup. But they are also nice through all kinds of salads. Think of it as an alternative for bacon.
Don’t store the sausage in the fridge. They will get sticky and icky quite fast, the environment in a fridge is too moist. Better is to hang them on a cool, airy place. Or put them in the freezer, where they will keep almost indefinitely.
Category: Dutch food