I am so excited! This weekend at the farmers market I came across the first of the local, Ontario fresh produce! Spring certainly has been taking its time in coming this year but now it finally starts with the asparagus. You can be sure that I picked some of that asparagus up and I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it. I was thinking that a simple asparagus gratin would be the perfect way to welcome the asparagus in, I mean, how could you go wrong smothering some juicy asparagus smothered in melted cheese?
Normally I would make this asparagus gratin with gruyere or parmigiano reggiano but this time I had another idea. Just a few weeks ago I had the pleasure of attending the Canadian Cheese Grand Prix Gala put on by the Dairy Farmers of Canada . At the gala I had the chance to taste the winning cheeses in each category and I was particularly taken by the over all winner, the Louis D’or, an organic firm cheese made in Quebec. After the gala, I managed to track down some of the Louis D’or and I figure that it would be great to enjoy it with the first of the years local asparagus in this asparagus gratin. ( Flickr gallery of photos from the gala. )
In general gratins are generally made either with a cream base or with a bechamel sauce base and this time I went with a bechamel sauce because I wanted to try something new with it. I had recently come across the idea of saving asparagus stems to make broth with and although I save a lot of other things to use to make broths, I had not thought about saving asparagus stems. Even though I had not had the chance to save a lot of asparagus stems I was thinking that it would be nice to use the water that the asparagus was cooked in as the liquid in the bechamel sauce in stead of milk or a vegetable broth.
I like to play around with this recipe and it is easy to use different cheeses and I often add different herbs to the bechamel or this time I simply garnished it with some chives. Sometimes I even spike the bechamel sauce with a bit of Dijon mustard to make it a touch bolder! I have to say that I was quite pleased with this version with the asparagus bechamel sauce and it certainly was an amazing way to use the first of the Ontario asparagus!
Asparagus in a cheese sauce and topped with even more cheese that is baked until the cheese has melted into ooey gooey goodness.
- 2 cups water
- 1 1/2 pounds asparagus, trimmed and cleaned, reserving the stems
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 3/4 cup gruyere or parmigiano reggiano (parmesan) or Louis d’Or, grated
- salt and pepper to taste
- Bring the water and reserved asparagus stems to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for five minutes then remove the stems from the water.
- Add the asparagus to the water and simmer until just tender, about 2 minutes.
- Remove the asparagus from the water and place in a baking dish, reserving 1 cup of the water.
- Melt the butter in a pan and let it bubble until it starts to turn a light brown.
- Mix in the flour and cook until it starts to turn a light golden brown.
- Add the reserved asparagus water and cook, stirring, until it thickens.
- Add 1/2 cup of the cheese and let it melt.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Pour the mixture over the asparagus in the baking dish and top with the remaining cheese.
- Broil until the cheese has melted and turned golden brown, about 4-6 minutes, watching it carefully.
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Grilled Asparagus and Tomatoes in a Kalamata Olive and Feta Vinaigrette
Butternut Squash and Feta Gratin
Lemon and Feta Grilled Asparagus
The Cafe Sucre Farine says
Wow, the colors look so pretty together, much nicer than Gruyere or Parmesan! Good choice! And the first asparagus of the year is always such a treat!
Rosa's Yummy Yums says
A splendid gratin! What a beautiful way of serving asparaguses.
Katherine D. says
Oh My Word!
I'm hitting my farmer's market tomorrow and searching out some local asparagus. Delicious! And drenched in cheese? Even better!
That is one gorgeous dish, Kevin, and I love that it's all local!
Looks fantastic!! Did you happen to get that produce at the St. Lawrence Market??? I'm heading up there soon 🙂
Inside a British Mum's Kitchen says
The asparagus looks and sounds absolutely delicious! I just found your blog and I'm so glad I did. I'm going to sign up to follow you!
visiting here 😀
This looks wonderful, Kevin! I can't wait to get some fresh asparagus here, anne
Meaghan Luby says
this is amazing! i need to start cooking with fresher food- lately my food has all been super geek focused (like my latest Star Wars feast)rather than produce focused. thanks for giving me back my focus and thanks for sharing! love it, as per usual 🙂
lucky u on the farmers market!!! what a lovely gratin with the fresh asparagus and cheese!
Ellie: Yes, I got the asparagus at the farmers market in the north building at the Saint Lawrence Market that is open on Saturdays.
Aisha Jameel says
That looks so damn mouth-watering!
Chicago Cuisine Critique says
This looks awesome. I have a Foodie Friday post where I feature different bloggers/recipes. I would love to feature this one this Friday.Please email me @ chicagocuisinecritique.gmail.com to let me know if you are OK with me featuring your recipe. Look forward to hearing from you!
aah! Kevin Im sure I will dream with this asparagus! look amazing!! gloria
Yum! I am hoping that there's asparagus at the farmer's market this weekend. I can't wait!
ive been seeing asparagus recipes everywhere of late! love it! don't think i can get the cheese you used here, but will try to gruyere next time!! yum yum!
Food Glorious Food! says
Love the cheesy gooeyness! Great choice!
Yumm! I love asparagus so I can't wait to try this recipe! Just fyi, I made a post on my blog (www.youfrillme.com) and linked it to your post on goat cheese mac n cheese! It was so, so delicious, I just had to share!
girls who like to gorge says
This looks great! I fully intend to east as much asparagus while i can! x
I like the asparagus in a bechamel rather than a cream sauce. Cream could overpower the tender vegetable. Isn't it great to see it fresh and local again?
Hello Kevin, I have made my asparagus based on your decsription and we all LIKED it very much. Thanks for this – you gave us such a fine idea – instead of a soup 🙂
Ava @ TheFatLossAuthority.com says
If you have kids you know how hard it is to get them to eat their veggies sometimes! I was so hesitant making this gratin, but it worked out well as my son had seconds and even my pickiest daughter had a few bites! Success! Thank you!
Shannon @ RecipesMe says
I love asaragus and this recipe looks delicious. I'm going to have to make it soon.
Sue Stevenson says
Kevin, will you come and cook for us?
Twenty three “reviews” and it appears maybe two people actually made the dish. Good thing it looks “so damn mouth watering”!!
This was a delicious and unique way to prepare asparagus! We really wowed our guests with taste and presentation. Thank you, Kevin!