Monday, January 13, 2014

Golden Broccoli Gratin

I am a veggie girl through and through.  I like veggies in all forms; raw, dipped in ranch, roasted, baked, steamed, sautéed, you name it I like it.  But, I think everyone agrees that the best way to enjoy any vegetable is doused in a creamy bubbly sauce and topped with gobs of melted cheese.
Vegetables have forever gotten the short end of the stick.  You never hear someone tell their kids; before you leave the table you have to finish your steak, or pizza, or hamburger.  Those are always the first things to go.  But the infamous words that kids for generations loathe are "you have to finish your vegetables before you _____".  Well all that comes to a holt when you serve your family a side that is swimming in warm bubbly cream and gooey cheese.  Add cheese to your vegetables and you've instantly transformed your basic meal into a meal that is pure decadence. 

This broccoli gratin will have your kids (big and little) coming back for more an more.  But before you get uncomfortable with this dish because of the name, let me just clarify.  The word gratin is just a fancy way of saying a dish that is topped with a crunchy breadcrumb topping made of Panko (Japanese breadcrumbs which are more coarse than our traditional breadcrumbs) as well as cheese.
This broccoli gratin is incredibly simple to make and can be assembled ahead of time, in need be.  Simply blanche the broccoli and stir into a cream sauce made of flour, milk, butter, onions, and cheese.  Pour in a shallow baking dish and spread into an even layer.  This would be your stopping point if you were prepping it in advance.  Simply wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate.  When ready to serve simply combine the melted butter, breadcrumbs and cheese, top the dish and bake.  Now if you can't get someone to eat their veggies after showing them this...well there's no hope.  But, on the brighter side there's more for you!

Golden Broccoli Gratin


2 lb broccoli
5 Tbsp unsalted butter, divided
1/4 Cup all-purpose flour
2 Cups milk
1/2 Small yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 Bay leave
1 1/2 Cups grated Gruyere cheese
1 Cup Panko breadcrumbs
1/2 Cup grated Romano cheese
1/2 Cup grated parmesan cheese
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste


Preheat oven to 350.  Spray a shallow 2 quart baking dish with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.

Fill a large bowl with ice water and set aside.

Place a large pot filled with salt water over high heat and bring to a boil.  Cut the heads of broccoli from the stalks and cut the heads into small florets.  Peel the stalks and thinly slice.  Add the broccoli to the boiling water and cook for about 2 minutes.  Immediately transfer to the ice water.  Then drain well and set aside.

Place 2 tablespoons of butter in a 10 inch frying pan and place over medium heat.  Once the butter has melted add the flour and stir until incorporated, about 1-2 minutes.  Whisking continuously, slowly pour in the milk.  Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce heat to low, and add the onion and bay leave and simmer until thickened, about 8 minutes, being sure to stir continuously.  Remove the bay leaf and discard, add the Gruyere and stir until the cheese has melted.  Season with salt and pepper.  Gently fold in the broccoli and transfer to the prepared baking dish, being sure to spread the mixture into an even layer.

Melt the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter.  Combine the melted butter, Panko, parmesan and Romano and stir to combine.  Sprinkle the mixture over the broccoli and place in the preheated oven.  Bake for 40-45 minutes, until bubbly and golden brown.  Allow to rest for 15 minutes before serving.

Recipe source: adapted from Williams-Sonoma 

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