Brussels Sprouts Gratin
- 1/2 yellow onion, peeled
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 whole cloves
- 3 cups milk
- Pinch fresh ground nutmeg
- 2 pounds Brussels sprouts, halved lengthwise
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons minced shallots
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup grated gruyere cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus a pinch
- 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground white pepper, plus a pinch
- 1/2 cup coarse bread crumbs
- 2 teaspoons roughly chopped parsley leaves
Lay the bay leaf over the cut side of the onion and poke the cloves through the bay leaf and into the onion to secure the leaf in place. Place the onion in a 2-quart saucepan and add the milk. Place the saucepan over medium heat and bring to a gentle simmer. Cook without boiling for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and strain through a fine mesh sieve. Discard solids. Set hot milk aside until ready to use.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Steam the Brussels sprouts in a steam basket inserted into a medium saucepan until just tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Arrange the Brussels sprouts in a shallow 2 quart casserole approximately 7 1/2 by 11 inches and set aside as you prepare the sauce.
In a 2-quart saucepan, melt 3 tablespoons of the butter. Add the shallots and minced garlic and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the flour to the pan and stir, using a wooden spoon, to form a blond roux. (Do not allow the mixture to brown.) Add the milk to the pan and whisk until smooth. Increase the heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes, or until thickened, smooth, and creamy. Remove the pan from the heat and add the grated cheese, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, stirring until melted. Pour the sauce evenly over the Brussels sprouts.
Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in an 8-inch saute pan. Add the bread crumbs to the pan and toss well to coat. Sprinkle with the remaining pinch of salt and pepper and the chopped parsley. Sprinkle the bread crumbs evenly over the top of the Brussels sprouts and bake until the top is golden brown and the sauce is bubbly, about 25 minutes
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