Brussels Sprouts Gratin
The Brussels sprouts are first roasted so that they are tender and lightly charred. They are then mixed together with béchamel sauce, crispy pancetta, shallots and lemon zest and topped with a mix of Gruyère and Parmesan cheese. Brussels sprouts are a commonly hated vegetable among people because of how they are often served, boiled until they are mushy and gross. I feel like it is one of those vegetables that people hate before they try them just because they feel like they are supposed to. This dish will convert any hater with the creamy béchamel and cheese and if it doesn’t, then there’s no hope for you.
1 pound Brussels sprouts, washed and trimmed
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
kosher salt, to taste
ground black pepper, to taste
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup whole milk
1 sprig thyme
½ cup diced pancetta
¼ cup diced shallots
1 teaspoon lemon zest
¼ cup shredded Gruyère cheese
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 400º. Cut the Brussels in half then toss in olive oil, salt and pepper and spread in an even layer, cut side down on an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet. Roast until the Brussels sprouts are soft on the inside and lightly browned, about 20 minutes.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, add the butter and melt. Add the flour, whisking to combine. Let the roux cook for a minute until a pale golden brown. Add the milk and thyme, whisking to incorporate. Bring the mixture to a boil then lower the heat to medium-low. Cook, whisking occasionally, until the sauce coats the back of a spoon, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and discard thyme sprig. Remove the béchamel sauce from heat and set aside.
In a small sauté pan over medium low heat, cook pancetta until fat has rendered and it is crispy, about 10 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove the pancetta to a medium mixing bowl, leaving as much fat in the pan as possible. Add the shallots and sauté until tender, about 6 minutes.
In a large bowl stir together the Brussels sprouts, pancetta, béchamel and lemon zest until combined. Pour the mixture into an 8-inch cast iron baking dish. Lower oven to 375º. Top with the Gruyère and Parmesan cheese and bake until the mixture is browned and bubbling, about 30 minutes.
Serves 4 as a side.