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Asparagus Gratin

 

Do you ever find yourself sort of in a rut when deciding what sides to fix with a special meal?  You’re not alone.  I find myself in this rut quite often, especially on Holidays.  Here recently, I’ve been deciding on what sides I want to fix for my upcoming Easter dinner.  Of course there’s a couple of sides that go without saying, Mac & Cheese and mashed potatoes… you know, the traditional ones that you know the adults and kids are going to want…but putting those aside, I like to mix it up, especially when it comes to my green vegetables.

Well once again, Cook’s Country came to my rescue.  I came across this recipe for Asparagus Gratin in a 2011 Cook’s Country Spring publication and this recipe totally caught my attention.  Although Cook’s Country has never let me down with their wonderful recipes, I didn’t want to wait until Easter to test this recipe.  Therefore, I tested it a few days ago and as I suspected, I was not disappointed in the slightest.

In this recipe, the asparagus ends are not discarded but used to make a stock that adds wonderful flavor to a rich creamy cheese sauce.  This wonderful sauce gets poured over the asparagus before it bakes in the oven. I can’t wait to make this delicious side for my Easter dinner.

Here’s how I made it…

I started by breaking off the woody ends of two pounds of thin asparagus and saving them.  Yes I know, you would normally throw these away but not this time…

I tossed them into a pot with some water and salt.  I brought it to a boil and reduced heat to medium, covered with a lid and cooked for five minutes…

Then I used a slotted spoon and removed and discarded the end pieces…

Next, I added the asparagus stalks to the pot and brought it back to a boil.  I covered it and cooked for about 4 minutes over medium heat until the stalks were tender…

Then I transferred the stalks to a paper towel lined dish to drain…

Meantime, I got to work making my cheese sauce…

I reserved one cup of the asparagus stock from the pot and discarded the rest…

Next, in the same pot, I melted some butter….then added some flour to it…

I whisked the flour and butter over medium heat for about one minute until the flour had cooked out…

Then I whisked in my reserved asparagus stock and brought the mixture to a boil, reduced the heat to medium low…

And whisked it for about 2-3 minutes until it was thickened and removed it from the heat…

Lastly, I tossed in some Parmesan and Montgomery Jack cheese…

And whisked it in until it melted.  I added some salt and pepper to taste and let the sauce set for five minutes… Sauce done!

I removed the paper towels from under the asparagus and poured the cheese sauce over the asparagus.  I sprinkled on some additional parmesan cheese…you can never have enough cheese I say…

And lastly, I placed the dish under my broiler for about 6-7 minutes until the asparagus was hot and tender and the cheese sauce was golden brown…

I served it up and oh goodness…I decided this side was going on my Easter menu!

Make this for your next special meal.  You will not be disappointed, I promise!

Cindy @ My Country Table

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Asparagus Gratin


  • Author: Cindy Gibbs @ My Country Table
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 20
  • Total Time: 35

Description

Tender asparagus, blanketed with a creamy sauce made of cheese and asparagus stock.


Ingredients

  • 2 pounds thin asparagus
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1/2 cup Monterey Jack cheese
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Adjust oven rack to upper middle position. Line a 9 x 13 broiler/oven safe baking dish with paper towels.
  2. Rinse asparagus. Break off end pieces. Bring water to a boil in a large skillet or pot over medium high heat. Add the asparagus ends and 1/4 teaspoon of salt and cover. Cook for 5 minutes over medium heat and remove from heat. Remove and discard asparagus ends.
  3. Add asparagus stalks to the skillet, cover and cook until almost tender, 2-4 minutes and remove from heat. Transfer asparagus to paper towel lined baking dish. Reserve 1 cup of the asparagus stock and discard the rest.
  4. Melt the butter in the empty skillet over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk for about one minute until the flour is golden in color. Whisk in the reserved asparagus stock and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 3-5 minutes until thickened. Remove from heat.
  5. Whisk in 1/2 cup of the Parmesan cheese and the Monterey Jack cheese until smooth. Season with salt & pepper. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes.
  6. Remove paper towels from under the asparagus in baking dish. Drizzle sauce over asparagus and top with the remaining 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese.
  7. Turn on oven broiler. Broil asparagus for about 6-8 minutes until the asparagus is tender and the cheese sauce is golden brown.
  8. Serve.

Notes

  • For even baking buy thin asparagus stalks, 1/4″ to 1/2″ in diameter.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 8

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