Asparagus & Gruyère Gratin
Asparagus gratin is a fantastic spring side dish that highlights the season! It’s cheesy and savory, with just the right amount of crunch from panko breadcrumbs. Aged gruyère adds a rich nutty flavor.
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided, plus more as needed
- 3 pounds fresh asparagus, trimmed (approximately 3 bunches)
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper, divided
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 1/4 cups half-and-half
- 8 ounces Emmi Kaltbach™ Le Gruyére® AOP Cheese, grated
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- Heat oven to 400°F with an oven rack on one of the top two shelves. Lightly grease a 3 or 4-quart casserole dish with cooking spray (butter or olive oil will also work).
- Bring a large heavy-bottom saucepan of salted water to a boil. Cook the asparagus, in batches, if necessary, until crisp-tender, about 3 to 4 minutes depending on the thickness of the asparagus. Drain through a colander, shaking off excess water, and then transfer to the prepared baking dish. Toss lightly with 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper.
- In the same pot, melt 3 tablespoons of butter over medium-low heat. Whisk in the flour and cook, stirring, until the mixture (known as a roux) develops a nutty fragrance and darkens slightly, 2-3 minutes. Whisk in the half-and-half, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, then increase the heat to medium-high and whisk until thickened, 4-5 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the gruyère in handfuls, whisking until smooth. Pour the cheese sauce evenly over asparagus.
- Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a small skillet until melted, then stir in panko and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Sprinkle evenly over the cheese sauce.
- Bake for 10 minutes, then turn on the broiler. Broil for an additional 1-2 minutes until the breadcrumbs are golden brown (watch closely to make sure they don’t burn). Serve warm.