Melt butter over moderately low heat in a skillet large enough to hold endives in one layer. Add thyme sprigs, then arrange endives on top. Season with salt.
Cover and cook slowly until endives are tender when pierced, 20-30 minutes, turning them with tongs halfway through. Uncover and remove thyme sprigs.
Raise heat to HIGH and cook until endives are browned on the pan side, about 1 minute. With tongs, transfer to a platter, browned side up.
Season with several grinds of black pepper and garnish with parsley. Serve hot or warm.
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