Green Beans Gratinéed with Cheese Sauce (Haricots Verts Gratinés, à la Mornay) #FantasticalFoodFight
Well, well, well, it’s French food again today!
It’s been a French-inspired summer! First, I made Ratatouille Bake for Bastille Day, the Fougasse for Eat the World, and now Green Beans au Gratin for Julia Child’s Birthday - this month's Fantastical Food Fight Challenge!
Last year, for Julia’s birthday, I read Julie and Julia and was tremendously disappointed (Julia Child is amazing while Julie what’s her face the blogger was insipid and annoying). I ended up sharing a recipe for puff pastry (which doesn’t actually appear in the book) because I was so underwhelmed by the book.
This year I bit the bullet and purchased my own copy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking for this event (I still want to find a great Julia biography, as well – any suggestions?) Then, of course, I went and traveled for 2 weeks while my new book sat in the mailbox and I was not reading or recipe planning!
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So, I’ve only just dipped into this massive tome, but I’m loving it already. Since I was crunched for time and since Hubs is out of town for another couple weeks, I had to be choosy about what I made (no 10-pound hams or leg of lamb!)
I decided to go with fresh, seasonal veggies again. I had quite a few green beans ready to pick and my lovely neighbor offered me beans from her yard too while Dude mowed her lawn (Dude has is very own lawn mowing business this year and he’s loving it!)
I almost went with Julia’s simplest preparation (beans sautéed in butter), but then I realized I had all the ingredients for gratin and knew it was kismet!
Part of the fun of cooking out this cookbook is that one recipe keeps the cook flipping between four recipes in the cookbook! It starts with the Green beans gratin, which refers the cook to how to blanche green beans. Then the recipe refers to mornay sauce, which in turn refers to béchamel! Flip, flip, flip – it’s all part of the fun!
Green Beans Gratinéed with Cheese Sauce (Haricots Verts Gratinés, à la Mornay)
Adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking, p. 446
1 lb fresh green beans, trimmed and washed
1 tablespoon butter
1 ½ tablespoon flour
1 cup lowfat milk
Salt & pepper
1/3 cup sharp white cheddar or gruyere, shredded
Additional shredded cheddar or gruyere, to top
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and lightly grease a small baking dish.
Start by blanching the beans. After the beans are cleaned and trimmed, boil them in a pot of salted boiling water for 8-10 minutes or until beans are crisp-tender and vibrantly green.
Drain the beans and immediately plunge into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking.
Meanwhile, make the mornay sauce.
Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for 2 minutes. Slowly whisk in the milk, a little at a time, allowing the sauce to thicken between additions. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the cheese, mixing until completely melted.
Pour a third of the sauce into the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Top with half the beans. Season with salt & pepper, then another third of the sauce. Following with the remaining beans, season, and top with the remaining sauce and additional shredded cheese.
Bake in the preheated oven for 20-30 minutes or until the beans are heated through and the cheese is just beginning to brown.