Asparagus au Gratin Recipe from France with Parmesan Cheese

Asparagus au Gratin

Asparagus au Gratin Recipe from France with Parmesan Cheese
Region / culture: France | Preparation time: 20 minutes | Cooking time: 10 minutes | Servings: 4


Asparagus au Gratin
Asparagus au Gratin

Asparagus au Gratin is a classic dish that combines the tender, earthy flavors of asparagus with the rich, creamy texture of cheese and butter. This dish is perfect for those who appreciate the simplicity of vegetables while enjoying a touch of indulgence from the gratin topping. Ideal for a side dish or a light main course, Asparagus au Gratin is versatile and can be served at both casual and formal gatherings.


The concept of au gratin, which originates from French cuisine, involves topping an ingredient with a browned crust, often made from breadcrumbs, grated cheese, egg, and/or butter. Asparagus au Gratin takes this concept and applies it to fresh asparagus spears, creating a dish that has been enjoyed for generations. While the exact origins of this specific recipe are difficult to pinpoint, it is clear that it has been a beloved preparation for asparagus in many Western cuisines for decades.


How to prepare

  1. Discard the tough ends of the asparagus and tie the spears in a bunch.
  2. Stand the asparagus upright in a deep saucepan.
  3. Add 2 cups of boiling salted water.
  4. Steam the asparagus for 15 minutes.
  5. Remove the asparagus from the saucepan, drain, and untie the bunch.
  6. Place the asparagus in a baking dish.
  7. Pour melted butter and milk over the asparagus.
  8. Season with salt and pepper, and sprinkle with cheese.
  9. Bake the asparagus at 425°F (218°C) for 10 minutes or until the cheese is browned.


  • For a twist on the classic recipe, try adding a layer of sliced tomatoes between the asparagus and the cheese or mixing in some crispy bacon bits for added flavor. For a gluten-free version, omit any breadcrumbs or ensure they are gluten-free.

Cooking Tips & Tricks

For the best Asparagus au Gratin, select asparagus spears that are firm and bright green with tightly closed tips. Thinner spears are preferable for their tenderness. When tying the asparagus, use kitchen twine to avoid any damage to the spears. To achieve a perfectly browned and bubbly top, consider using a mix of parmesan cheese with a small amount of breadcrumbs or another melting cheese for added flavor and texture.

Serving Suggestions

Asparagus au Gratin can be served as a side dish with a variety of main courses such as grilled chicken, steak, or fish. It also pairs well with a light salad for a complete meal.

Cooking Techniques

The key technique in this recipe is steaming the asparagus before baking. This ensures that the asparagus is tender but not overcooked. Baking then finishes the dish with a deliciously browned top.

Ingredient Substitutions

For a dairy-free version, use plant-based milk and cheese alternatives. Olive oil can be used in place of butter for a different flavor profile.

Make Ahead Tips

Asparagus au Gratin can be prepared up to the point of baking and then refrigerated. When ready to serve, simply bake until the cheese is browned and bubbly.

Presentation Ideas

Serve the Asparagus au Gratin in a beautiful ceramic dish for a rustic yet elegant presentation. Garnish with fresh parsley or chives for a pop of color.

Pairing Recommendations

A light, crisp white wine such as Sauvignon Blanc or a dry Riesling pairs beautifully with the flavors of Asparagus au Gratin.

Storage and Reheating Instructions

Leftover Asparagus au Gratin can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in the oven or microwave until heated through.

Nutrition Information

Calories per serving

Each serving of Asparagus au Gratin contains approximately 180 calories. The majority of these calories come from the fats and proteins in the cheese and butter.


A serving of Asparagus au Gratin contains approximately 8 grams of carbohydrates. The majority of these carbohydrates come from the asparagus itself, with a small portion contributed by the milk and parmesan cheese. This dish is suitable for those following a low-carb diet.


This dish contains about 12 grams of fat per serving, primarily from the butter and cheese used in the recipe. Using low-fat milk and reducing the amount of butter can lower the fat content if desired.


Asparagus au Gratin provides around 7 grams of protein per serving. The protein comes from the milk and parmesan cheese, making this dish a good vegetarian source of protein.

Vitamins and minerals

Asparagus is a rich source of vitamins A, C, E, and K, as well as folate and several minerals including iron and potassium. The cheese and milk add calcium and vitamin D, making Asparagus au Gratin a nutritious addition to any meal.


This recipe contains dairy (butter, milk, and cheese) which are common allergens. Those with a dairy allergy or intolerance should avoid this dish or consider dairy-free substitutions.


Asparagus au Gratin is a relatively low-carb and moderate-calorie dish that offers a good balance of fats, proteins, and essential nutrients. It is rich in vitamins and minerals, making it a healthy choice for a side dish.


Asparagus au Gratin is a delightful dish that combines the fresh flavors of asparagus with the creamy, cheesy goodness of a gratin. It is nutritious, versatile, and can be adapted to suit various dietary needs. Whether served as a side or a main, it is sure to impress with its elegant presentation and delicious taste.

How did I get this recipe?

I recall the feeling of curiosity that overcame me when I found this recipe for Asparagus au Gratin. It was tucked away in an old cookbook that I had inherited from my own grandmother many years ago. As I flipped through the pages, I came across the recipe written in her delicate handwriting, along with a note that said it was a family favorite passed down through the generations.

I had never tried making this dish before, but the combination of asparagus, cheese, and breadcrumbs intrigued me. I decided to give it a go and see if I could recreate the flavors that my ancestors had enjoyed so much.

I gathered fresh asparagus from the garden, along with some sharp cheddar cheese and breadcrumbs from the pantry. I followed the instructions carefully, blanching the asparagus until it was tender, then layering it in a baking dish with the cheese and breadcrumbs.

As the dish baked in the oven, the aroma that filled the kitchen was heavenly. The cheese bubbled and melted, creating a golden crust on top of the asparagus. I couldn't wait to dig in and taste the result of my efforts.

When the timer finally dinged, I pulled the dish out of the oven and let it cool for a few minutes before serving. The first bite was pure bliss - the asparagus was perfectly cooked, with just the right amount of crunch, and the cheese added a rich, savory flavor that complemented the vegetable perfectly.

I couldn't believe that I had never made this dish before. It was a true delight for the taste buds, and I knew that it would become a staple in my own recipe collection from that day forward.

As I savored each mouthful, I couldn't help but think about the journey that this recipe had taken to reach me. It had been passed down through the generations, each cook adding their own twist and flavor to make it their own.

I imagined my grandmother standing in her own kitchen, carefully preparing the dish for her family, just as I was doing now. I could almost hear her voice guiding me through the steps, her laughter filling the room as we shared stories and memories over a delicious meal.

I realized then that this recipe was more than just a collection of ingredients and instructions - it was a connection to my past, a link to the long line of women who had come before me and who had shared in the joy of cooking and sharing good food with their loved ones.

As I finished my meal, I made a mental note to pass this recipe on to my own grandchildren someday, along with the stories and memories that went along with it. I knew that it would become a cherished part of their own culinary journey, just as it had become a cherished part of mine.

And so, as I washed the dishes and put away the leftovers, I felt a sense of gratitude for the gift of this recipe and the tradition that it represented. It was a reminder of the love and care that had been poured into each dish that had come before it, and a promise of the joy and connection that would continue to be shared through the simple act of cooking and eating together.

As I turned off the lights in the kitchen and headed to bed, I knew that I would sleep well that night, content in the knowledge that I had honored my heritage and preserved a piece of my family's history through the simple act of making a delicious meal. And as I drifted off to sleep, I whispered a silent thank you to my grandmother for passing down this treasured recipe to me, and for giving me the gift of a taste of the past that would live on in my heart and kitchen for years to come.


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