Cover cooked asparagus with cheese, stick it under the broiler until the top is golden brown and crisp around the edges, and you have a fabulous and elegant dish. You can prepare any of the variations using asparagus instead of the suggested alternative vegetable.
Other cooked vegetables you can use: green or wax beans, artichoke hearts, fennel, eggplant, leeks, spinach, celery root, parsnips, zucchini, winter squash, or sweet potatoes
- Yield: 4 Servings
- Total Time: 10 Minutes
- 1 tablespoon butter or olive oil for the pan
- 1½ –2 pounds cooked asparagus
- Salt and pepper
- 1 cup grated Gruyère or Swiss cheese
- ¼ cup Fresh Bread Crumbs (page 678)
- ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley for garnish
- Pinch paprika (optional)
- Turn on the broiler; adjust the rack to about 4 inches from the heat source. Grease a shallow medium baking pan or gratin dish with the butter.
- Put the asparagus in the dish, sprinkle with salt and pepper, cover with the cheese, and sprinkle with the bread crumbs. Broil for 3 to 5 minutes, until the cheese is melted and golden. Sprinkle with a few more grinds pepper, the parsley, and the paprika if you like, and serve.
- SIMPLEST ONION GRATIN Sweet and satisfying: Replace the asparagus with about 5 cups lightly pan-cooked onion (see page 221).
- MUSHROOM AND ROQUEFORT GRATIN Any mushrooms and any blue cheese will work nicely: Replace the asparagus with about 5 cups sautéed mushrooms (page 217) and use crumbled Roquefort for all or part of the cheese.
- ROASTED BEET AND GOAT CHEESE GRATIN A wonderful, familiar combination: Replace the asparagus with about 5 cups sliced peeled roasted beets (page 178) and use crumbled goat cheese for the cheese and thyme leaves instead of parsley. Sprinkle the beets with the thyme leaves, then the goat cheese, and proceed with the recipe.
- BROCCOLI OR CAULIFLOWER AND PESTO GRATIN Pesto beyond pasta: Replace the asparagus with about 5 cups chopped boiled or steamed broccoli or cauliflower (page 150) and use Parmesan for the cheese. Omit the parsley. In Step 2, toss the broccoli or cauliflower with a cup or so Pesto (page 634), sprinkle with the Parmesan, and proceed with the recipe.