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Video:Green Bean and Blue Cheese Gratin

with Chef John Mitzewich

Green beans and blue cheese go great together in a salad, but when baked together in this decadent gratin, they are sublime. Bring out this savory dish on those special occasions.See Transcript

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Transcript:Green Bean and Blue Cheese Gratin

Hi, I'm Chef John Mitzewich for About.com Food. Today I'm going to show you a deliciously and decadent green bean and blue cheese gratin.

All right, this is one of those special occasion recipes that we make once or twice a year just to spoil ourselves. You forget you even know about butterfat. Let's get started.

Clean the Green Beans

Bring some water to a boil, some salted water. Now, there are two ways to clean beans. You can pick the ends off; we like to call that in the business, the "grandma's porch method."

Or, you can take the knife, tap the ends of the beans together to straighten them up, and cut off the tips, which is how the chefs do it because it's much faster.

Green Bean Gratin Ingredients

So we need:
  • 1 1/2 pound green beans
  • 3 ounces blue cheese
  • 1 pint heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup melted butter

Boil the Green Beans

What we're going to do is boil those beans for 6 minutes. So wait until the water comes to a rolling boil.

OK, after 6 minutes we're going to take what called a "spider" or some type of strainer, and you're going to scoop those into a bowl lined with a paper towel. So those are almost tender, but not quite.

Combine the Butter and Bread Crumbs

The oven is preheated to 400F. We're going to make some buttered bread crumbs, which is butter, bread crumbs, and a little black pepper, just a pinch, to taste.

I don't think you need salt in this. The blue cheese is usually pretty salty, but taste it. It's up to you if you want to add a little salt at this point.

Combine the Gratin Ingredients

In the gratin dish, we're going to put about a third of the crumbs down. You're going to pile those beans on now.

I didn't cool those in water, there's no need. I just put them in the bowl with the paper towel so they're dry, but still warm.

I'm going to pack those down and move them around until they are about as packed as I can get them. Then you are going to crumble over your cheese. And you're going to pour over the cream.

Top the Gratin With Heavy Cream

Now let me answer my own rhetorical question: Can I use skim milk? No, you can't. Either do this right or don't do it. Like I said, this is a decadent, once-a-year dish for that special meal, that special dinner party.

We don't count the calories, we're going to just enjoy it. So top it with the cream and the rest of the breadcrumbs.

Bake the Green Bean and Blue Cheese Gratin

Put it in the hot oven for 15 minutes, and what comes out is this bubbling mass of goodness.

Now you have to be patient. If you dig right into this molten stuff you'll have 3rd degree burns on your tongue. But if you let it cool just a little bit, the cream will recede and it will look like that, and it will be amazingly rich and delicious.

So, again, we're not going to apologize. This is our once or twice a year reward dish, and there is no better combination than green beans and blue cheese. I hope you give it a try and most importantly, enjoy!

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