Friday, February 23, 2018

Broccoli Au Gratin

Cheese and broccoli, they just go so well together. In my family, we all like this green flowering head. Raw, steamed, stir-fried, we love it in all forms. This combination, however, is everyone's fave. If you are not a great fan of broccoli, this recipe will certainly make you rethink this cruciferous vegetable.

This rich and delicious side dish is an excellent choice for a potluck and makes for a great side to any festive entree. Creamy b├ęchamel sauce is drizzled over tender-crisp broccoli and topped with shredded cheese and crunchy breadcrumbs to create the ultimate broccoli side dish.
As a variation you can make this recipe with a combination of broccoli and cauliflower, just tastes divine and really satisfying, especially during winter. A great way to incorporate vegetables into your meal.

Ingredients: (serves 4)
1 large bunch of broccoli florets
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
2 cups whole milk
Salt to taste
1 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
1/2 cups grated Cheese (Gruyere or Sharp cheddar or Parmesan)
1/4 cup panko + 1 tbsp melted butter
  1. Steam the broccoli florets in a large pot of boiling water fitted with a steamer basket for 3 minutes, until florets are tender-crisp. Rinse them in cold water, drain well. We like our broccoli a little crunchy. If you prefer it a little soft then steam for 5 minutes.
  2. Arrange them in a single layer in an oven-safe dish.
  3. In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter and whisk in the flour until it forms a smooth paste. Continue whisking, cook for about 2 minutes, and then gradually add the milk – 1/3 cup at a time. Continue whisking and cook until the sauce is completely heated through, smooth, and thickened. Remove from the heat and season with the salt, thyme, and nutmeg. Please grate the nutmeg yourself, it makes a huge difference in flavor.
  4. Pour 2 cups of the B├ęchamel sauce over the steamed broccoli and gently toss the florets to make sure they are thoroughly coated with the sauce.
  5. Preheat the oven to 450°F. 
  6. Bake the gratin, uncovered, for 15 minutes. Stir together the grated Gruyere cheese and breadcrumbs and sprinkle them over the gratin. Bake it for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, until the gratin is hot and bubbly and the cheese is melted and browned. Sprinkle the surface of the baked gratin with the ground pepper and serve hot.

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