Swiss broccoli gratin is a touch healthier way to eat a bunch of good Swiss cheese. When I say Swiss cheese, I don’t talk here about the American swiss cheese with holes… no.. no… I talk about the two delicious cheeses types they often use in Switzerland to make their famous cheese fondue; the famous Vacherin Fribourgeois and Gruyère cheeses. Passing by Switzerland this summer, I had to make a stop at the Fromagerie (cheese store) to get some of the best cheeses on this planet.
This recipe is, of course, possible to make with other cheeses, but the ultimate mix of Vacherin fribourgeois, a more elastic cheese type and Gruyère a strong and firm one is a “must try” combination. This recipe I’ve made on our way back from Switzerland, based on the traditional dish fondue moitié-moitié (cheese fondue), but a tad lighter (using less cheese) and containing some veggies (broccoli and onion). It’ s a kind of hybrid between cheese fondue and gratin dauphinois, since I’ve used the typical cheeses from the cheese fondue dish and the cream and potato elements from the usual gratin dishes. Plus some extra crumbled toast on top to keep the famous bread element from the fondue and it gives some extra crunch to the dish. I love to add a touch of green to this dish, usually this recipe uses only bread / potato and cheese which is heavy on the stomach. At a Swiss friend’s place in Switzerland they told us never to drink cold water with this cheese fondue meal, just white wine otherwise it becomes a brick of cheese in your stomach and hurts. The wine on the other hand help to make the fat slide down. But for my hybrid version there is way less cheese into the dish than in a real cheese fondue… so no worries, you should survive a glass of cold water.
This broccoli gratin is terribly easy to make although to find the cheese could be a difficult task. I would suggest to search for a cheese store specialized in European cheeses. The Gruyere is pretty much everywhere but the Vacherin Fribourgeois could be harder to find. Otherwise you could always use a raclette cheese instead of the Vacherin Fribourgeois cheese.
I’ve used for this dish the same technique as for cheese fondue meaning; I’ve melted really slowly the cheeses in some wine, nutmeg and pepper and a sip of cream in the end (this last part isn’t in fondue though, it’s more a gratin then). For the broccoli, I’ve simple cooked them “blanchi” which means in salted boiling water for a short time then directly cooled under cold water to keep their bright color and their crunch.
Let’s make this irresistible cheese dish!
Swiss broccoli gratin
Makes 3-4 portions
- 1 broccoli cut into florets
- 3 potatoes
- 1 onion finely chopped
- 200g of Vacherin fribourgeois
- 200g of Gruyère cheese (keep 50g of gruyere for the top gratin)
- 200ml of cream
- 100ml of white wine
- nutmeg, pepper
- *Optional a slice of bread toasted and transformed into sandy texture with the mortar (to sprinkle on top in the end)
- Start by boiling the potatoes until soft, then cut them into thick slices
- Add them to the bottom of a ovenproof casserole or individual small clay pots of your choice
- In a pot of boiling water add the broccoli florets for about 2-3 minutes or until al dente and drain and rinse them in cold water to freeze the vivid color
- Add the florets on top of the potatoes
- In a sauce pan cook the finely chopped onion into butter until soft, medium high heat
- Add the wine, cream, nutmeg, pepper and the grated cheeses (both) and melt the cheese, low heat, until liquid
- Add the cheese sauce on top of the broccoli-potato, some extra grated gruyere, salt and pepper on top
- Turn on the oven on the strongest grill mode, and let the gratin top turn light brown, it takes about 10 minutes
- Serve with a top of crumbled toast
Serve with a sweet white wine and green salad. Enjoy!