(Below left) Marius and Corrie Van der Put with an employee in one of the witloof growing darkrooms (Below right) sorting and packing a fresh batch of witloof.

van der Put 1van der Put 2

Grilled Witloof, Ham and Cheese

Chef: Patricia Herselt


4 hearts of witloof
20 gr butter
100 ml water
1/2 organic stock cube
black pepper
4 slices of good quality cooked ham

For the cheese sauce:
50 gr butter
50 gr flour
300 ml milk
100 grated, mature cheese (cheddar, Gruyere or Gouda)


Clean-up the witloof by slicing off the brown bottom end and crossing in about 1 to 2 cm deep. Remove damaged leaves (if any).

Melt the butter in a pan and sauté the witloof hearts, add stock cube, pepper and nutmeg. Add the water and let it simmer until the cores are tender.

The witloof shouldn't burn, so add extra water if necessary

Drain in a colander, but keep the liquid.

Meanwhile make your cheese sauce.

Melt the butter in the pan and mix in the flour. Add the milk and vegetable liquid; bring to the boil, while stirring all the time. The sauce should be cooked through for at least a minute to prevent the floury aftertaste.

Take off the heat and stir in half of the cheese.

Roll each heart of witloof in a slice of ham and arrange in an ovenproof dish.

Pour over the cheese sauce and sprinkle with the rest of the cheese.

Put in a preheated oven 180 ° C or under the grill till the cheese on top has become golden brown.

Ron Becroft

Horticulture industry's premiere award recipient Ron Becroft with his wife Colleen and the Bledisloe Cup at the Horticulture NZ annual conference dinner, Christchurch, New Zealand, Wednesday, July 22, 2009. Credit:NZPA / Supplied.