Au Gratin sounds fancy, doesn’t it? For a while, I was intimidated to make anything au gratin. That was until I realized I could make my own simple version of it with pretty much anything I could find in our fridge and pantry.
For anyone who isn’t familiar with the term, here is the definition (or at least my definition): vegetables and/or meat/seafood mixed in Béchamel sauce (another intimidating word that simple means a rich white sauce…your blank canvas,), covered in cheese and broiled until golden. That’s it! Now maybe some fancy chefs would disagree with me but this is my simple delicious version of it.
I’ve made a variety of au gratin dishes. Usually based on the random things I have on hand, with the occasional fancy version.
Here are some examples of what I’ve made, keeping in mind that it’s not always a pretty dish, although always very tasty.
The Empty the Fridge Version: Brussel sprouts and broccoli, with a mixture of Cheddar, Parmesan and Swiss cheese on top.
The I Feel Fancy Version: Lobster tail, scallops, peas, mushroom, topped with Gruyère cheese.
The I Forgot I Had This In The Freezer Version: Lobster tail, asparagus and peas, topped with Swiss cheese.
So here are the easy steps to make a good and easy gratin.
- Find which vegetables and/or meat you are working with. Chop everything into small to medium pieces.
- Sauté your vegetables and/or meat until cooked. Leave to the side.
- In a saucepan, make a béchamel sauce (find my simple recipe at the bottom of this blog post). You can vary your sauce’s seasoning, based on what you’re making. I like to add crushed garlic cloves, curry powder, dried herbs…
- Add the béchamel sauce to your vegetable/meat pan and mix together.
- Pour the mixture into a baking dish.
- Cover with the cheese of your choice. I’ve used a variety of cheeses, even in different forms (thin sliced or shredded), based on what I had on hand.
- Broil in the oven until the cheese is melted and golden brown.
- Let cool a bit and devour! 🙂
That’s it! It might sound intimidating the first time you try making it but you quickly realize that it’s an easy way to have a fabulous dinner in very little time. It’s a great way to use up what you already have since it’s so versatile.
- 1 cup of milk
- 2 tablespoons of butter
- 2 tablespoons of flour
- Whisk all the ingredients together in a saucepan.
- Bring to a boil, then let simmer.Whisk the sauce regularly. You can play with the heat (lower or higher) until you get an even and thick-enough sauce.
What would be your combination of choice for a delicious au gratin dish?