Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Streusel-topped Cheesy Broccoli

I really liked this broccoli, and it's my new favorite way to eat little trees. It's much more flavorful than the typical cheesy broccoli casserole, due mostly to the savory streusel topping seasoned with garlic, onion, spicy mustard, and parmesan.

1 to 1 and 1/2 pounds of broccoli florets

Streusel Topping
2 tablespoons butter
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
1/2 -1 tablespoon spicy brown mustard
@ three slices of fresh bread (I used oat) broken into smallish crumbs
Parmesan cheese, salt, and fresh ground pepper, to taste

Cheese Sauce
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons flour
@ 2 cups milk
4 oz. sharp cheddar cheese
salt, freshly ground pepper, ground cayenne, and ground nutmeg, to taste

Cook broccoli in boiling water for about 3 minutes until slightly cooked but still firm. Drain and set aside.

Saute onion and garlic in butter over medium-low heat until onion is translucent. Add the mustards and the bread crumbs. Fry until crumbs begin to turn golden and then season with salt, pepper, and parmesan. Set aside.

For the sauce, prepare a basic white sauce by melting the butter in a pan and then stirring in the flour. Whisk in the milk and cook over medium heat until the sauce thickens, whisking constantly. Season with salt, pepper, nutmeg, and cayenne and add the grated cheese. Stir until cheese has melted and is incorporated completely, forming a smooth sauce.

Layer the broccoli in the bottom of a baking dish and spread the cheese sauce on top before sprinkling the bread crumb topping over it all. Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes or until the topping is nicely browned and toasted.

I added more mustard, garlic, etc., to taste as I made this, and the cheese sauce is just a guide. I usually just wing cheese sauces, so I'm not entire sure how much milk I added. It wasn't as thick a sauce as I'd normally make, but since it had additional baking in the oven, it turned out to be a perfect consistency.

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