Gratin Of Asparagus With Béchamel

If there is one thing I absolutely do NOT understand about British food culture is the need to eat your asparagus green. I have always preferred the white – fully grown, asparagus by far and I can still smell the soft, earthy smell of the stems cooking before they would be laid out on a dish with heaps of butter and fresh herbs.

My favourite white asparagus recipe, however, must be the gratin of white asparagus with cheese Béchamel.

  • 1 big bunch of fresh white asparagus – this will be about 500-600 grams
  • 40g of real butter
  • 40g of flour
  • 350ml milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
  • 80g grated holland cheese
  • 80g grated parmesan cheese
  • handful of breadcrumbs
  1. First of all we are going to make a roux by melting the butter on a medium heat and adding the flour.
  2. Whisk the flour and the butter together and try to make it as dry as possible without burning. This means that the ‘dough’ may not stick to the pan.
  3. Add the milk while constantly whisking until you have a smooth sauce. Add pepper, a bit of salt, nutmeg and take if of the hob.
  4. Now add the cheese and stir it through the sauce.
  5. Now, to prepare the asparagus, we need to trim away the bottom of the stem and peel off the rough part with a vegetable peeler.
  6. Now fill a medium sized pot with water, add salt and bring to a boil. My grandmother would always add a pinch of lemon to make them extra soft but it depends on how you like your asparagus. Cook for about 10 minutes depending on the thickness of the asparagus – they have to be crispy and tender, and drain the pot.
  7. Now lay the asparagus out in an oven dish and cover them with the béchamel. Top with the breadcrumbs and put in a preheated oven on 180° for about 20 minutes ( until golden ).

Perfect with a piece of venison or with a tough meated fish.

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