Brussel Sprouts Au Gratin

  • Prep Time
    45 minutes
  • Cook Time
    30 minutes
  • View

Steamed vegetables napped with a Bechamel sauce then topped with cheese and buttery bread crumbs.  Soooo French, as per “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” by Julia Child, Louisette Bertholle and Simone Beck, Knopf, 1961.  The picture is Simone Beck who, bless her heart, never quite gained the commercial fame attained by Julia.  Nevertheless, she made a mean gratin.  You can substitute cauliflower or broccoli.  But, this will make even a brussel-sprouts-hater love the little cabbages.



    Learn to make a Bechamel sauce. This French mother sauce is a base for souffles -- and if you add cheese, it's a Mornay sauce. The proportions here are for a small casserole, so just double if you're making a larger one.

    Step 1

    Prep your sprouts. Cut off the stem ends and trim. Cut in half or if they are really big, cut in quarters.

    Step 2

    Steam the sprouts. Load them in a steamer in a big sauce pan with a few inches of water at the bottom. Turn heat to medium and when you see steam coming up, cover the pan and steam until almost tender. You don't want to cook them too much but you just want to soften them a bit. They should be a bright beautiful green. They're going to cook some more in the oven --you're steaming them so they won't be too hard and crunchy when your casserole is done.

    Step 3

    A steamer like the one above is an essential item in your kitchen. While your sprouts are steaming, make the Bechamel sauce.

    Step 4

    Bechamel: Melt 2 TBS butter over medium heat. Sprinkle 1/8 of flour over butter and stir. Don't brown. This is not a dark roux. Stir with a whisk. When the flour and butter are incorporated, almost like a paste, add the room temperature milk in a thin stream. Add a pinch of nutmeg. Stir the entire time. You want a thick sauce, slightly thicker than one that merely coats the back of the spoon, but not a pudding.

    Step 5

    Put the sprouts in a pretty casserole dish. Pour the white sauce over the sprouts.

    Step 6

    Sprinkle with cheese, and then the buttered bread crumbs. The bread crumbs are from a loaf of white bread pulsed in the food processer and then doused with some melted butter.

    Step 7

    Bake at 375 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes. You want a deeply toasted topping. This is also good the next day when the sprouts are a little softer after a night in the frig.

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