This recipe for Asparagus Gratin originates from Cook’s Country Magazine, May 2011 issue. What I found fascinating about this recipe: instead of just discarding the woody asparagus ends, it is used to make a flavorful quick broth that will be used to create the sauce in the recipe.
Also, instead of the typical cream found in most gratin recipes – butter and flour make a nutty roux to thicken the asparagus broth into a delicate, light sauce.
How to make Asparagus Gratin
Cut off the woody ends from asparagus.
These will be used to make a quick vegetable broth that we’ll use in the recipe.
Simmer them for 5 minutes in a saute pan or skillet.
Use slotted spoon to remove stems (discard), keep the water in the sauté pan.
Now let’s cook the asparagus in that broth that we just made. Cover and cook just for 2 minutes until almost tender. We’ll finish cooking them in the oven.
Once the asparagus is done, remove with slotted spoon. Pour the asparagus broth into measuring cup — we’ll need just 1 /2 cup of that broth.
Dry the pan, add butter and when the butter is melted and begins to bubble, whisk in the flour.
Cook to create a roux.
Pour the reserved asparagus broth into the pan.
Whisk then stir in the cheeses.
Pour sauce into casserole dish, lay asparagus on top, sprinkle remaining cheese.
Broil for 6 minutes until asparagus is tender and cheese melted.
Asparagus Gratin Recipe
- 1 pound asparagus
- 1 1/2 cups water
- salt and pepper
- 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
- Place rack in upper middle position of the oven and preheat the broiler to high.
- Trim the woody ends of the asparagus off. In a saute pan (with lid), bring the water to a simmer. Add the woody asparagus ends plus 1/4 teaspoon of salt to the water and cook for 5 minutes. Using slotted spoon, remove and discard the woody asparagus ends.
- Return water to a simmer. Add the asparagus to the water, cover and cook for 2 minutes, until just nearly tender (for very thin asparagus, you only need to cook 1 minute). With slotted spoon, remove the asparagus and reserve. Pour just 1/2 cup of the asparagus water into a measuring cup (discard the rest).
- Wipe the saute pan dry and return to stove on medium heat. Melt the butter in the pan and with whisk or spoon, stir in the flour. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook until thickened and nutty smelling, about 3-5 minutes. Turn off the heat. Stir in most of the cheese (reserve a couple of tablespoons of cheese for the top of the asparagus) and the reserved asparagus water. Taste then season with salt and pepper.
- Pour this thickened cheesy sauce into oven-safe casserole dish. Place the asparagus on top of the sauce. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top of asparagus. Broil for 6-8 minutes. Top with parsley. Serve immediately.
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