I live for a good gratin, and I’m thrilled to report that this beautiful Asparagus Gratin with Austrian Mountain Cheese is one of my best to date. I truly couldn’t be more excited for you to experience the cheesy magic!
(Just in case you’re not familiar, gratin is a technique I imagine most can get behind: topping an ingredient with a browned crust typically made from cheese and/or breadcrumbs and butter.)
Made with just a handful of ingredients, this is one of those recipes where the flavor and texture of the finished dish is somehow so much more than the sum of its parts. Roasted asparagus tossed with lemon- and thyme-laced cream and topped with a layer of melted Austrian Mountain cheese and garlicky breadcrumbs is pure decadence, friends. And while it looks and tastes very impressive, I promise it’s laughably easy to pull off. Just toast some garlic and breadcrumbs, whisk the cream mixture, grate your Austrian cheese, layer everything in a baking dish with fresh asparagus and pop it in the oven for 13-15 minutes. It shouldn’t run you more than 30 minutes, tops!
Given that the true selling point of this recipe is its blanket of bubbling cheese, you want to use a truly great cheese. I love the delightfully piquant taste of Austrian Mountain cheese for this recipe. It has a subtle nuttiness and melts beautifully, which is obviously essential for a gratin. (You can learn more about Austrian Mountain cheese here.)
If you love cheese even half as much as I do, I highly recommend exploring the wonderful world of Austrian cheese. Europe is undeniably the home of cheese, and so many unique and delicious European cheeses are made in Austria where cheese making remains a true labor of love. Austrian cheese makers are passionate about their craft, using high quality milk from family farms and traditional methods that respect the environment and animal welfare to produce a wide variety of GMO-free cheese. More than 400 varieties of cheese are produced in Austria, so I promise there’s something to please every palate!
This gratin will serve 4 to 6 as a side dish and pairs beautifully with everything from a weeknight seared steak, roast chicken, or fish to a holiday beef tenderloin or turkey centerpiece. It’s also delicious eaten for brunch/lunch with a fried or jammy egg on top, or served atop some toasted sourdough tartine style. Just throwing that out there…
For more information and recipes using Austrian cheese visit the Europe Home of Cheese Facebook page.
- 1½ tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, plus extra for serving
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1 cup grated Austrian Mountain cheese, divided
- 1 pound medium asparagus, woody ends trimmed
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Start by making the breadcrumb topping. Heat the butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. When the butter is melted and bubbling, add the garlic and cook just until golden, about 1-2 minutes. (Keep a very close eye on it, it goes from golden to brown quickly!) Add the breadcrumbs and a tiny pinch of salt and stir to coat them with butter. Immediately transfer the breadcrumbs to a bowl and set aside.
Add the cream, lemon zest, thyme, kosher salt and black pepper to a bowl and whisk to combine. Fold in ½ cup of the Austrian Mountain cheese.
Assemble the gratin. Place the asparagus in a medium baking dish (I like a 9” x 11” or9” x 13”) in an even layer. Pour the cream mixture on top of the asparagus and toss to evenly distribute. Sprinkle the asparagus with the remaining ½ cup Austrian Mountain cheese and the garlicky breadcrumbs.
Bake for 13-15 minutes until the asparagus is tender and the cheese is melted and bubbling. Top with extra fresh thyme if you’d like and serve immediately.
*This post is sponsored by Europe Home of Cheese. Thank you for supporting the wonderful brands that help keep Domesticate Me alive and kicking!