Brussels Sprouts Gratin

by Anne Maxfield on February 6, 2017

As much as the Accidental Locavore likes  Brussels sprouts any way, every now and then, you need to mix it up, dress them up.

Cheese is always good.

And knowing how to do a béchamel sauce (which technically becomes a mornay sauce with the addition of cheese) is handy for a lot of things—mac & cheese, croque monsieur, etc.

Serves 6

Brussels Sprouts Gratin

For the Mornay sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups whole milk (warmed)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2/3 cup grated smoked Gouda cheese (2 ounces)

For the Brussels sprouts:

  • 1 1/2 pounds brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved

For assembling the gratin:

  • 2/3 cup finely grated aged Gouda (2 ounces)
  • Smoked flaked sea salt, such as Maldon or regular sea salt

Preheat oven to 375°.

Make the sauce: Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and whisk until mixture bubbles slightly but has not started to brown, about 2 minutes.

Gradually whisk in milk. Raise heat to medium-high and bring to a boil, whisking often.

Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, until thickened, 12 to 15 minutes. It should coat the back of a wooden spoon.

Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat. Add cheese and stir until melted.

Blanch the brussels sprouts: Place in a microwave-safe dish. Sprinkle with about a tablespoon of water and cook, covered, for 4-5 minutes until just tender.

Assemble the gratin: In a lightly greased gratin pan, add the Brussels sprouts.

Pour the sauce over the brussels sprouts and sprinkle with cheese and a pinch of smoked sea salt.

Bake until bubbling and golden, about 25 minutes. Serve and enjoy!


My verdict: This is a great dish for those who may be on the fence about Brussels sprouts. Like bacon, cheese makes everything good.

Hmmm…speaking of bacon, a little cooked and crumbled would probably go really well in this.

We really liked this. It’s a great side dish to something simple like a steak. You can easily substitute almost any cheese for the smoked Gouda, or even a combination, if you’ve got stray scraps in the fridge.

Topping it with Parmesan and/or breadcrumbs would also be delicious. Just think of it as a Brussels sprouts version of mac & cheese (and it will seem almost healthy).





Accidental Locavore Pimentos and Broccoli

Finally back on track with the farmbasket, but only for a week. If you’re like the Accidental Locavore you’re in huge denial that August (and the summer) is almost over. One of the big signs is that the Dutchess County Fair starts Tuesday. Paul Wigsten, my farmer and his son Will always have lots of their vegetables and a cow or two entered in the show. My neighbor Arthur is in charge of the horticulture area, and enters his gladiolas and other flowers. They usually score best in show ribbons in a lot of categories.
The downside? No basket next week, the lawn doesn’t get mowed for a week, and it’s the last weekend in August.
The upside? A trip to a real county fair, complete with exotic chickens, prize worthy vegetables, and more (junk) food than you can possibly imagine.
In this week’s basket, a big purple cabbage, lovely cantaloupe, bag of mesclun, red, orange and yellow peppers, along with pimentos, zucchini and squash, corn, tomatoes (one of my favorite heirloom varieties, German stripe), and cranberry beans (dried this time).
So what have I been doing with the veggies? True confession; the corn I’ve just been tossing on the grill, and the tomatoes have been mixed with basil and mozzarella. It’s my favorite thing to do with both of them and until we’re really into (gasp) September, I can’t get enough of them.
Tonight I’m grilling baby loin lamb chops that I’ve marinated in some (homemade) yogurt with cumin and other warm spices and roasting the broccoli, then tossing it in a little butter and some of the pureed garlic confit I made a few weeks ago. Sounds good right? Later in the week, I’m revisiting a great recipe from the NY Times last year, for a ratatouille pot pie, with Italian sausage, ratatouille, and a cornmeal topping. It’s more of a cobbler than a pie, and really delicious. Maybe I’ll see what happens if I toss a couple of the pimentos in…
I’m also going to try the cranberry beans in a gratin that I found online. I’m a sucker for the word gratin, aren’t you?



Recipe: Cauliflower Puree For My Mother

by Anne Maxfield on April 20, 2010

Accidental Locavore CauliflowerThe Accidental Locavore’s mother asked about the season for cauliflower, which I think is fall and winter.  She was hoping for some new ways to cook it, as she and my dad really like it. I don’t know why I didn’t get all of that gene, but I do have the love-of-pork gene that she is unfortunately missing. My two favorite ways of eating cauliflower, are Bobby Flay’s cauliflower gratin with goat cheese (like bacon, is there anything that doesn’t go better with chevre?) from Bar Americain, and a pureed version that makes it like faux mashed potatoes. Since I haven’t mastered the gratin yet, but am working on it, here’s the pureed version  adapted from the South Beach Diet. This is not as low in calories as their version, but it uses real foods, not “butter” sprays.

1 head of cauliflower cut into small florets

Milk, cream, sour cream (can all be low fat versions, or not)

Butter, salt and pepper

Other options: horseradish, garlic (steam w/cauliflower), chives

Cut the cauliflower into small florets, and steam or microwave until tender and soft.

Puree in a food processor adding milk, cream or sour cream to taste and for desired consistency. Finish with a small amount of butter, salt and pepper.

And an article in Friday’s New York Times says “Older adults appear to be at lower risk for Alzheimer’s disease if they eat a diet rich in fish, poultry, fruit, nuts, dark leafy greens, vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower, and oil-and-vinegar dressing, a new study has found.”

What’s your favorite way to prepare cauliflower?