Cheesy Asparagus Potato Gratin Recipe
Asparagus, Cheese, and Potatoes Cooked into a Golden Bubbly Casserole
I've always loved potatoes au gratin, scalloped potatoes - any kind of potatoes baked with cream and cheese until golden and bubbly on top. I've also always loved asparagus, whether steamed with a bit of lemon juice, slathered in butter, covered in Hollandaise sauce, or eaten snapped right off the plant.
This potato gratin dish is one I created to take advantage of the truly beautiful asparagus spears I found at our local farmers' market.
I put together heaps of tangy sharp cheddar cheese, luscious cream, fresh asparagus and earthy, waxy red potatoes. I love the way the asparagus delicately flavors the potatoes and the cheese sauce, accented with just a touch of herbs and black pepper.
Since it turned out so well, my partner and my roommate urged me to write down the recipe for this asparagus and potato casserole. It smelled so good coming out of the oven they wanted to dig in right away but I was mean and made them wait until after I took this photo.
* 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
* 2 cups milk, half & half, or cream (I prefer cream for flavor and texture)
* 2 pounds of small redskin potatoes, sliced one quarter inch thick - Small golden potatoes or fingerling potatoes may be substituted but young potatoes are necessary for proper texture and to reduce cooking time to tenderness.
* 1 pound of fresh asparagus spears - Frozen asparagus may be substituted but it must be completely thawed before use.
* 4 tablespoons of unbleached white flour
* 4 tablespoons of butter
* 1 half teaspoon herbes de provence (a mixture of savory, basil, thyme, lavender, and fennel) or the dried herbs of your choice
* 1 half teaspoon of table salt
* Fresh ground pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Melt the butter in a non-stick skillet over medium heat.
Add the Flour
Add the flour to the melted butter. Stir constantly over medium heat until the flour browns slightly and smells slightly nutty. This type of sauce is called a roux.
Stir the Milk or Cream into the Roux
Stir the milk into the browned flour and butter, or roux, stirring constantly over medium heat until sauce begins to thicken.
Add The Cheese
Add one cup of the shredded cheddar cheese to the sauce, stirring constantly until the cheese is incorporated. Remove from heat and stir in the herbes de provence, the half teaspoon of salt, and a few grinds of black pepper.
Layer Sliced Potatoes in Baking Dish
Lay down a single layer of sliced potatoes in the bottom of an un-greased baking dish.
Spoon Sauce Over Potatoes
Spoon the sauce lightly over the potatoes, spreading it to cover them.
Layer Asparagus on Top
Layer the asparagus on top of the sauce.
Spoon Sauce over the Asparagus
Spoon sauce over the asparagus and layer with potatoes and sauce, then asparagus and sauce until the asparagus and sliced potatoes are all used up or the dish is full.
Cover with Shredded Cheese
Sprinkle the remaining shredded cheese on top of the casserole and put the dish into a 350 degree oven for 40 - 50 minutes or until the top is golden brown and beautiful.
For special occasions this gratin dish would look beautiful with bubbly cheese on top. The shallow profile provides a nice browned potato ratio in my opinion. A shallow dish means a higher percentage of the contents have contact with the sides or bottom of the container. More golden, tastiness!
Finished Asparagus and Potato Gratin with Cheese - bubbly browned casserole
Allow the asparagus and potato gratin to cool a bit then serve as desired.