Gratin using any kind of vegetable is always considered a classic of French cooking. To be a gratin it must be a baked dish but distinctively must have a light covering of cheese and or breadcrumbs. Which vegetable you use requires that it is robust enough to be baked, so root vegetables are one of the best to use. Using a green vegetable, the favoured vegetable may be leaf spinach but broccoli also does a good job.
This broccoli gratin recipe is a versatile side dish that fits in well with many menus. The smallest hint of sage is nearly undetectable hidden in the traditional cheese and broccoli, yet gives the dish a special complexity. Use good quality, fresh broccoli for the best flavors.
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon rubbed sage
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk
- 2 pounds broccoli and chopped
- 1 1/2 cups shredded Cantal cheese (substitute cheddar)
- 3 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1 cup bread crumbs
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
How to make broccoli au gratin:
Preheat the oven to 375F and butter a large gratin dish.
Sauté the onion in the olive oil for five minutes in a medium saucepan set over medium heat. Sprinkle the flour over the onions and continue sautéing the mixture for 30 seconds. Add the salt, pepper, rubbed sage, and milk to the pan and stir constantly for 3 to 5 minutes until the sauce thickens.
Stir broccoli and cheese into the sauce, bring the mixture to just a simmer, and then turn it out into the buttered gratin dish. Stir together the melted butter, bread crumbs, and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, and sprinkle the bread crumbs over the gratin. Bake the broccoli gratin in the preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes, until it is hot and bubbly, and the bread crumbs have turned golden brown.
Alternatives to a Broccoli Gratin:
This dish is a simple and tasty way of serving healthy broccoli. there are, however, some delicious alternatives too.
In addition to the broccoli, add lightly, steamed fresh spinach before baking.
Mix in some curly kale and proceed with the recipe as above.
Which cheese you use can totally alter this dish. Above Parmesan is used but why not ring the changes using a little grated Gruyere, or Emmenthal. Strong cheddar also makes a good, tasty topping.
Mix a couple of tablespoons of lightly toasted breadcrumbs to the topping.
This broccoli gratin recipe makes 4 to 6 side dish servings.