The Broccoli Thieves and the GratinOle & Shaina Olmanson
My kids have grown up on broccoli. I ate it while I was pregnant, and it was one of their first vegetables when they started eating finger foods, chopped small and cooked soft. My husband still comments to this day on their broccoli love. Sure. It might be normal to have one child who loves broccoli, but four out of four is something of a phenomenon to his non-broccoli loving self.
Still, as I headed out to take a few photos of my children, broccoli in hand, I never thought I’d have a hard time taking it back. “Here,” I instructed the kids, handing each of them their own brassica bunch, “hold the broccoli and let me take your picture.” My three youngest who were home at the time willingly approached the green bundles, each taking their own. I started snapping pictures when my oldest son took a giant bite.
I laughed, took a few photos of them and then thanked them for their time. “Okay, I can take them back.” “NO! I’m going to eat it all,” and they ran away from me, broccoli in hand, sprinting across the yard. “But I was going to make it for dinner,” I protested. “I’m hungry now,” they retorted.
Finally, too lazy to chase after them, I left them alone with their broccoli. There could be worse things for them to fill up on, after all.
This broccoli gratin is warm and luscious, making it perfect for a cool fall evening. It’s a take on the oh-so-popular broccoli and cheese sauce, but with the cheese sauce baked right in until you have a creamy mess of green.
2 pounds broccoli
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Ground black pepper
3/4 cup + 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1/4 cup fresh bread crumbs
Blanch broccoli in boiling water for three minutes. Mix together cream, salt, nutmeg, pepper and 3/4 cup Parmesan. In a greased 8-10″ baking dish add broccoli in an even layer. Pour cream mixture over the top. Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan and bread crumbs. Bake at 350 degrees F for 15 minutes. Open the oven and using a spoon, break the crust and push the broccoli down. Bake an additional 15 minutes.
Allow to cool slightly before serving.
Makes 6-8 servings.