Saturday, June 11, 2011

Broccoli and Brie cheese gratin


This broccoli and Brie cheese gratin came to mind spontaneously last weekend. Unlike many "on the go" simple foods I make for myself this I don't want to go unnoticed. It made a beautiful, simple and delicious dinner. Together with a glass of cider it even made me nostalgic about France. You just need to like both broccoli and cheese to enjoy as much as I did.


I was walking home in the evening after half of my Sunday spent in Upside down cake. It is becoming more and more habitual to spend my weekends in either UDC or Pokrovka Coffee bean. Just let me sit down there with my laptop, a cup of cappuccino (a large one) and a cookie or a piece of cake. You can be sure you lost me for some 4-5 hours. There is something in the air of these places (apart from free WiFi) that lets me come back into myself after a working week. So most of what you read from me these days was written in either one or the other.

I was growing really hungry despite a humongous piece of carrot cake I consumed there in UDC. I thought half will be enough and the rest I'll take home. Surprisingly it didn't work that way. What could I do? It was so unbelievably delicious. So I was really feeling like something savory for a change.

The idea of a broccoli and Brie cheese gratin came spontaneously. You can well expect this from me. I love both ingredients, so they are always around in my head to fit somewhere into the agenda. Unlike many simple pieces of food I make on the go, this I don't want to go unnoticed. It came out really really flavorful and fulfilling. How amazingly easy it is I guess there is no need to say. So here is the recipe.

Broccoli and Brie cheese gratin (recipe is now growing usual for me)

serves 2

200 g broccoli (fresh or frozen)
2 shallots
1 clove garlic
50 g spinach leaves
2 tbs vegetable oil
100 g Ram Brie
salt
freshly ground black pepper

for the bechamel sauce (I use the recipe from Le Cordon Bleu's Complete Cooking Techniques):
20 g flour
20 g butter
300 g milk
tiny pinch of ground nutmeg
salt

Separate the broccoli into florets. Peel and quarter the shallots. Peel and bruise the garlic cloves. Arrange the broccoli, shallots and garlic in a rectangular baking dish, drizzle with olive oil and toss. Bake at 200C for 20 min.

While the veggies are cooking, make the bechamel sauce. In a small pan melt the butter on medium low heat. Add the flour and cook for 2-3 minutes stirring till it gets ivory color.


Take the pan off the heat and let cool for some half a minute (to prevent the lumps). Pour in the milk and whisk till the flour dissolves into it. Return the pan to low heat and cook whisking constantly for some 5 minutes till the sauce thickens. Add the nutmeg and salt to taste.


Take the baking dish out of the oven. Reduce the heat to 180C. Cover the vegetables with spinach leaves and Brie cheese chopped into 2 cm pieces.


Pour over the bechamel, trying to evenly spread it. Bake for another 15-20 min and take out. Let it stand for 5 minutes and done.


The gratin is best if you eat right from the baking dish. That's why in France, you'll see them cooked right in individual (most of the time clay) baking dishes. Still sizzling and incredibly hot - delicious. So if you have individual baking dishes, you might find them useful here.

Related posts and pages:

Gorgonzola and spinach pasta
Broccoli and gorgonzola cream soup
Quiche with red onion and blue cheese
Jamie Oliver's pasta with oozy cheese sauce

Simple things (Простые вещи) Moscow restaurant