Tuesday, April 10, 2012

cheesy broccoli gratin

When my brother and I were kids, we used to hate broccoli. Our parents would make us eat a few pieces with almost every meal (or at least, it felt like almost every meal), and let me tell you - it was a painful experience. My brother had it easier, considering he ate everything with ketchup. I, on the other hand, hate(d) ketchup more than I hated broccoli. 

The only shot they had at us eating our broccoli was by giving me the florets, and my brother the stalks. I guess it was a win-win for everyone involved, because they had to cook less broccoli (or make us eat more? Either way they win). These days, we both eat the whole piece (broccoli stalks are perfect for stir-fry, don't you know). 

The other night I needed a quick side dish, and knew it had to pass the test for both myself and the Boyfriend. I had some broccoli that needed using, and everyone likes cheese. Right? This was pretty tasty, with just a little bit of crunch from the panko and a bit of a kick from the pepper jack. I could have made it fancier with a cream sauce, but that night we were all about quick and easy.

This one is dedicated to the Boyfriend, who is a self-proclaimed broccoli-hater, unless of course there's cheese involved. He ate his entire plate of broccoli that night! I'm so proud.

Cheesy Broccoli Gratin (serves 2-4)

1 small head broccoli, broken into florets
3 oz your favorite cheese (I used pepper jack)
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 400*. In a large pot, bring an inch or two of water to a boil. Toss broccoli in and reduce to a simmer, and cook for just 2-3 minutes. Remove broccoli from pot and run under cold water in a strainer to stop it from cooking further. Arrange broccoli in an oven-safe dish (I used my small cast iron). Top with cheese, sprinkle with panko, salt and pepper, and drizzle with olive oil. Bake 15-18 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly and panko is golden.

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