Every household in the Netherlands, and probably every family with Dutch ancestors around the world, has its own variation of this recipe. Why? Because witlof is available year-round and super affordable. However, not everyone is too fond of this vegetable for its bitter core. And the way your parents prepared it is a great influence on how much you liked it. I did like it, and I still do. But as you might have guessed by the title of this post, this is not my mother's recipe. I remember that we ate witlof quite often. I also remember that we mostly ate it in a similar way to this recipe. I am also sure that my mother never used a recipe, and therefore couldn't give it to me if I asked for it. So here is my own version of that memory. Enjoy!
- Preheat your oven to 220ᵒC.
- Cut the witlof lengthwise and remove the outer leaves and the core (unless you like the bitter taste of the core, then by all means leave it in).
- Cook the witlof for 5 - 7 minutes, depending on how soft you like it to be. When it's ready, place the witlof in a colander to remove as much water as possible.
- While you wait for the witlof to cook, start the sauce by melting 30g butter in a saucepan and adding 20g flour. Whisk together and let it cook out for a couple of minutes. It should froth, but keep a pale colour.
- Then slowly add 300ml whole milk while whisking continuously. Keep stirring until the sauce starts to thicken and whisk in 2 tbsp mustard. Make sure that there are no clumps of mustard left, your nose will thank you for it.
- Finish the sauce by stirring in 60g grated cheese and adding nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste. When you think it's ready, take the saucepan of the heat.
- Take your favourite ovenproof dish (not too large) and place the potato slices at the bottom. Spread half of the sauce over the potatoes.
- Divide the cooked witlof over the slices of ham, role them up, and place the roles in the oven dish.
- Cover the witlof with what's left of the sauce, and some grated cheese.
- Bake for 10 - 15 minutes. Let cool slightly, and divide over two plates.
225g pre-cooked potato
100g ham (4 - 6 slices)
300ml whole milk
60g grated cheese
salt & pepper