Au Gratin is a very popular French dish that has veggies or meat covered and drenched in white sauce topped with bread crumbs and cheese and broiled in the oven to create a toasted crust. For years I have been trying to recreate an Au Gratin that tasted similar to what I had tasted some years ago. Dasa, a very popular restaurant in Chennai and Coimbatore had vegetable au gratin on their menu. It was a dish that I enjoyed a lot and have always thought of preparing it at home. I recollect that it was not too cheesy nor did it have a strong cheese smell or taste. All I remember was the creamy silky texture in every bite. So after a lot of trial and error I felt that the one I prepared for dinner last night was the closest to the Dasa Au Gratin.
Ramekins - 6
Heavy Bottom Vessel
Measuring Cups and Spoons
Vegetables ( Cauliflower, Carrots, Beans, Corn) - 3 cups
Water - 5 cups
All Purpose Flour - 1/2 cup
Butter - 2 tbps plus 1 tsp
Milk - 4 cups
Cheese - 3 tbsp ( white cheese that can melt)
Nutmeg - 1/8th tsp
White Pepper - 1/2 tsp
Cream- 1/4 cup
Bread Crumbs - from 1 slice
Parmesan Cheese - 2 tbsp
Olive Oil - 3 tsp
1. Cut the veggies and cook them in boiling water with required salt. Some like them cooked with a bit of a crunch to it but I like it well done but not mushy. Its important to get the vegetables to hold their form.
2. Drain the vegetables into a colander and let all the water drain out.Allow it to cool.
3. Set the saucepan on low heat. Add 2 tbsp butter and when it starts to melt add the all purpose flour and mix well. You will see a froth forming. Reduce the heat to low and slowly add 1/2 a cup of milk and mix well again to always see to it that there are no lumps forming. Mix in the rest of the milk a cup at a time.
4. Add the cheese, salt, nutmeg and peppers and mix well to form a thick sauce ( ketchup consistency) and remove from flame.
5. Prepare the ramekins by coating it with a little butter and add the veggies to it. Using a tbsp spoon the white sauce so as to coat the veggies and fill them up.
6. Mix the bread crumbs, cheese and olive oil and spread it on top of each ramekin to form a crust.
7. Broil it on low until the top looks roasted ( 10 minutes)