Chef Eric Czerwinski tops his endives with a rich and creamy bacon sauce that nicely offsets the vegetable's bitterness. Use baby endives no more than 4 inches long.Plus: More Vegetable Recipes and Tips
Preheat the oven to 500°. Lightly oil a large glass or ceramic baking dish.
In a small saucepan, cook the bacon over moderate heat until crisp; drain on paper towels. In a small bowl, mix the bacon, mascarpone, parsley and thyme and season with salt and pepper.
Using a small melon baller or spoon, scoop a little of the core from each endive half, leaving a shallow bowl. Rub the endives lightly with the olive oil. Spread 2 teaspoons of the mascarpone mixture on the cut side of each endive half, smearing it between the leaves. Arrange the filled endives in the baking dish and sprinkle with the bread crumbs. Bake for about 8 minutes, or until the filling is bubbling and the endives are just tender.
Preheat the broiler. Broil the endives for about 1 minute, or until the bread crumbs are toasted. Serve hot.
The endives can be baked ahead and broiled just before serving.
A medium-bodied white with a hint of bitterness in the finish will complement the cream and bacon here and find echoes in the slightly bitter endives. Try a round Oregon or Alsace Pinot Gris.