asparagus gratin

prep time:  tbd
cook time:  tbd
servings:  6 - 8

2 pounds asparagus
3 cups water
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons flour
3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese - divided
1/2 cup shredded monterey jack cheese

1.  adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat broiler.  line broiler safe baking dish with paper towels.  snap the woody ends of f the asparagus and set both stalks and ends aside.

2.  bring water to a boil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  add asparagus ends and 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook covered for about 5 minutes.  using a slotted spoon, remove asparagus ends and discard.  add asparagus stalks to skillet, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until nearly tender, 2 - 4 minutes.  transfer asparagus to paper lined baking dish.  pour asparagus water into liquid measuring cup.  if liquid does not read 1-cup, add water until it does.

3.  melt butter in empty skillet over medium heat.  add flour and cook, stirring constantly until golden, about 1 minute.  whisk in reserved asparagus water and bring to boil.  reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until thickened, 3 - 5 minutes.  off heat, whisk in 1/2 cup parmesan and monterey jack cheese until smooth.  season with salt and pepper.  cover and let stand for 5 minutes.

4.  remove the paper towels from baking dish.  drizzle sauce over center of asparagus and top with remaining parmesan.  broil until cheese is golden and asparagus is tender, 4 - 8 minutes.

note:  you can add bacon crumbles or sauteed mushrooms to the asparagus before broiling.

- apron appeal.com

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