This Asparagus Gratin is a luxurious and comforting side dish with a decidedly French accent! It’s equally good as part of a fancy spring feast, or a quiet dinner for two.
This classic asparagus gratin dish is utterly simple, but it demands the best ingredients ~
You’ll want super fresh asparagus, homemade breadcrumbs, and real Parmesan cheese. With these ingredients you can’t go wrong!
TIP: To avoid the dreaded ‘mushy asparagus’ I just blanched it briefly to take the raw edge off. This way it retains some firmness while it bakes in the bechamel sauce.
Homemade Breadcrumbs are quick and easy to make.
Just take a slice of bread and process it in your food processor or blender. If you have seeded whole grain, pumpernickel, or otherwise interesting bread lying around, all the better.
I have a secret ingredient for the best gratins ~
A touch of freshly ground nutmeg is the secret ingredient that makes this Asparagus Gratin utterly irresistible! I keep a jar of whole nutmeg in my spice cabinet at all times, and use a microplane grater to add it to this and lots of other recipes for a subtle flavor that I just love.
This is simple, classic, and French. It made a nice change for us, and I think it’s perfect for serving with a light entree like grilled chicken or fish.
Reader Rave ~
“This dish is scrumptious. The sauce is velvet deliciousness. A nice alternative for my favorite spring vegetable. I made a couple of hours ahead then popped into the oven with my entree.” ~ JHK
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- about 1 1/2 lbs of asparagus
- 3 tbsp butter
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- salt and lots of fresh cracked black pepper to taste
- 1 1/2 cups finely grated Parmesan cheese
- A sprinkling of fresh breadcrumbs
- snipped chives for garnish or parsley
- Set oven to 400F
- Wash and trim the ends off the asparagus. Blanch it in boiling water for about a minute or so to tenderize it a bit. Bring water to a boil, add the asparagus, and time it after the water comes back to the boil. Set the asparagus in a buttered gratin or baking dish.
- Melt the butter in a saucepan, and whisk in the flour. Cook for just a minute, but don't let it brown. Then whisk in the milk and blend well. Add the nutmeg, salt and pepper and continue heating until the sauce thickens, stirring or whisking constantly.
- Take the sauce off the heat and stir in the cheese until the cheese melts and the sauce is smooth.
- Pour the sauce over the asparagus, and top with the bread crumbs.
- Bake for about 20 minutes, until browned and bubbling. Run it under the broiler at the end if you want a little more color, but watch it carefully.
- Sprinkle with chives or parsley, and serve hot.