This creamy, crunchy gratin is easy to make, but it tastes positively indulgent. You can use the same technique to make a gratin with other vegetables you have on hand, such as cauliflower, squash or carrots. Accompany with roasted meat, or serve with a side salad and a glass of crisp, white wine for a simple vegetarian meal.
2-4 slices sourdough or coarse country bread, crusts removed
1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml.) olive oil
1/2 cup (2 oz./60 g.) grated Parmesan cheese
2 Tbs. capers, drained and finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 1/2 lb. (750 g.) broccoli, stalks peeled and chopped, heads cut into small florets
3 Tbs. sour cream
Preheat the broiler. Arrange the bread slices on a baking sheet and toast in the broiler, turning once, until golden on both sides, about 2 minutes. Break into large pieces and process in a food processor to form coarse crumbs. Measure 2 cups (6 oz./185 g.) crumbs. In a bowl toss the crumbs with the oil, Parmesan, capers and garlic. (Note: Any leftover bread crumbs can be packed into an airtight container and frozen for up to 3 months.)
Bring a saucepan of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the broccoli and cook for 2 minutes. Drain and cool under cold running water. Drain again and arrange in a broiler-proof shallow baking or gratin dish. Spread the sour cream over the broccoli, and sprinkle with the bread crumb mixture.
Place in the broiler and cook until the gratin is heated through and the crumbs are golden and crisp, 4-5 minutes. Remove from the broiler and serve. Serves 4.
Find more seasonal, vegetable-focused dishes in our new cookbook Vegetable of the Day, by Kate McMillan.