April 03, 2017

Asparagus Gratin with Gruyère & Panko

Asparagus Gratin with Gruyère & Panko

Everyone has at least one of them in the family. Heck, maybe you’re that oneYou know, those people who just loathe vegetables and make any holiday meal a tricky one to navigate? Well, my husband’s family has a few of them. I have to admit I have a bad habit of taking it personally when my veggie side dishes are not warmly received (I’m working on it, okay?). As I’m sure you’ve guessed, I’m a big fan of vegetables. I love them, not just for their health benefits, which are obvious, but because I actually find them delicious. 


Who can resist tender asparagus baked in a creamy béchamel style sauce...

For the last 11 years of marriage to my husband I’ve made it my personal mission in life to bring him on board with them, too. He was a hard sell at first, but has long since come around to enjoying them as much as I do. He grew up eating exclusively canned veggies, and simply didn’t know that they could and should taste good. I am confident that when prepared properly like herehere, and here everyone can be converted and grow to love them as much as we do.

With his successful transition, I’m onto the rest of the family and every holiday is game on. In recent years my mother-in-law has really upped her roasted veggie game, and I now have a solid accomplice in my corner. We’ve said goodbye to the corn casserole with ritz topping (as delicious as that is), and this year are saying hello to this incredible asparagus gratin. Who can resist tender asparagus baked in a creamy béchamel style sauce, seasoned with whole grain mustard, thyme, and a pinch of nutmeg, then buried in gruyere and parmesan? Exactly! No one can. I’ve always believed that the holidays offer the perfect opportunity to splurge in the veggie department and this year we will do just that and hopefully win a few family members over in the process. (I’m coming for you Kent.)

Asparagus Gratin with Gruyère & Panko

Serves 4

Ingredients

1-1 1/2 lbs asparagus, woody ends trimmed off
3 tbsp butter, divided
2 tbsp flour
1 cup whole milk
1 tbsp whole grain mustard
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
3/4 cup Gruyère, grated
3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1 tbsp flat leaf parsley, minced, optional

Method

  1. Heat oven to 400° F.
  2. Bring salted water (1 tbsp salt for every 4 quarts water) to a boil in a large pot. Blanch asparagus in the boiling water for 4 minutes. Asparagus should be tender, but still crisp. Drain asparagus, transfer to a gratin or other baking dish, set aside.
  3. In a small saucepan or skillet, melt 2 tbsp butter over medium heat until bubbly. When the foam subsides, add the flour and whisk until thickened and fragrant, 1 minute. Slowly add the milk to the butter mixture and whisk for 2 minutes until slightly thickened. Season the sauce by adding the mustard, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Whisk until fully incorporated. Add the parmesan cheese, stir until combined.
  4. Pour the sauce over the asparagus in the baking dish. Sprinkle gruyere over the sauce and bake in the hot oven until bubbly and beginning to brown. 15-20 minutes.
  5. While the gratin is baking, toast the panko along with the remaining tablespoon of butter, in a small skillet over medium heat. Stir continually until the panko is a nice golden brown. Set aside.
  6. When gratin comes out of the oven, sprinkle with toasted panko and parsley and a little extra parmesan cheese if you are feeling crazy. Serve warm. Enjoy.


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