Choose a mild blue cheese, such as Bleu d’Auvergne or Gorgonzola, for this recipe. The broccoli is first steamed until tender, then cloaked with cheese sauce and topped with buttery crumbs for baking. You can steam the broccoli and prepare the sauce in advance, then finish and bake the dish just before serving.–Georgeanne Brennan
LC Ooooh Baby! Note
Ooooh baby, this is how we like our broccoli. Buried in a not-too-rich sauce with a hint of heat from cayenne and ample oomph from pungent blue cheese. The make-it-in-advance trick doesn’t do anything to dissuade us, either.
Broccoli and Blue Cheese Gratin Recipe
- Quick Glance
- 30 M
- 1 H, 25 M
- Serves 6 to 8
- 3 heads broccoli
- 3 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for the baking dish
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons fresh bread crumbs
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose (plain) flour
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Pinch cayenne pepper
- 1 1/2 to 2 ounces blue cheese, preferably Bleu d’Auvergne or Gorgonzola, crumbled
- 1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (176°C). Lightly butter a gratin or 8- or 9-inch baking dish.
- 2. Trim and discard the thick stalks from the broccoli. Cut each head in half lengthwise. Place the broccoli in a steamer rack set over boiling water, cover, and steam until easily pierced with a fork, 7 to 12 minutes or so, depending on the size. Drain and rinse the broccoli under cold running water, then coarsely chop it. Drain it again, then transfer it to a bowl.
- 3. Meanwhile, in a skillet over medium heat, melt 1/2 to 1 tablespoon of the butter. Add the bread crumbs and cook, stirring, until golden, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, transfer to a plate, and set aside.
- 4. In a saucepan over medium-high heat, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter. When the butter has melted, remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the flour until smooth. Return the pan to low heat and slowly pour in 1/2 cup of the milk, whisking constantly. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 5 to 7 minutes. Slowly whisk in another 1/2 cup of milk. Add the salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper. Continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, until the mixture has thickened again, about 5 minutes. Whisk in the remaining 1/2 cup milk and simmer until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 5 minutes longer. Stir in the blue cheese and cook, stirring, just until melted, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat.
- 5. Pour the sauce over the broccoli and turn gently to mix. Spoon the mixture into the prepared gratin dish, smooth the surface, and top with the buttered bread crumbs. Cut the remaining butter into bits and dot the top. Bake until bubbling around the edges and golden on top, about 20 minutes. Serve hot.
In Advance Advice
- You can cook the broccoli early in the day, or even the day before, and refrigerate it for up to 24 hours. You can also toast the bred crumbs and leave them at room temperature for up to several hours.
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Broccoli and Blue Cheese Gratin Recipe © 2010 Georgeanne Brennan. Photo © 2010 Quentin Bacon. All rights reserved.