Brussels Sprout Gratin
There was a time when I thought Brussels sprouts were only served as a side vegetable dish – probably first boiled then sautéed in lots of butter and covered with crispy bacon. Or perhaps just over-boiled and served as a slimy mess next to mashed potatoes. I guess I wasn’t a fan.
Then Chez Panisse happened!
I recall going to Alice Waters’ famous Berkeley restaurant in the early 1990’s. It was the night I first encountered a Brussels sprout gratin. It was a revelation. The sprouts still had a bite, while draped in a creamy sauce. The aroma had no sulfuric notes. None. The flavors were perfectly aligned, with a slight tilt toward sweet. This was a dish that defined the hip California cuisine going on at that time.
My vegan version comes close.
Roasting the sprouts first keeps the texture perfect as they sit under my creamy béchamel sauce. The dish is not difficult to make. In fact, you can make it in stages by roasting the sprouts first and reserving them (they will keep refrigerated for 2-3 days). The béchamel sauce can also be made a few days in advance. The two components are them simply combined in a greased gratin dish and broiled (grilled) for about 15-20 minutes.
yield: Makes about 4-6 servings
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