Boursin and Yogurt Artichoke Gratin

Boursin and Yogurt Artichoke Gratin

Boursin and Yogurt Artichoke Gratin

Boursin-yogurt-artichoke-gratin

Boursin and Yogurt Artichoke Gratin

French and American gratins, pronounced “Grawh-tAHn”, range from dense, cheesy and cream-laden to light dishes made simply with a béchamel sauce.This artichoke gratin, satisfyingly filling yet not overly cheesy works well as a dip or topping for a tartine (open-faced sandwich).

The French cheeses used, Boursin and Gruyère, are commonly available in U.S. grocery stores. The unusual gratin ingredient is the Greek yogurt as a complementary creamy element. It also adds a hint of acidity that balances the sweetness of the artichoke hearts.

Yogurt is a source of B-6 and B-12 vitamins, vitamin D, potassium but Greek yogurt offers more protein, a more diverse probiotic profile and is thicker and creamier than most regular yogurt.

Boursin and Yogurt Artichoke Gratin

10-12 servings as an appetizer

Ingredients

  • 4 ounces of low-fat cream cheese, softened
  • 5.2 ounces (150 grams) herbed boursin cheese, softened (see substitutes below)
  • 1 cup low-fat Greek plain yogurt
  • ⅛ teaspoon cayenne (too much cayenne can mute the herb flavors)
  • 4 ounces gruyère (about 1 ⅓  cups shredded), divided (see substitutes below)
  • 2 (14-ounce) cans artichoke hearts, drained

Steps

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F and adjust a rack to the middle position.
  2. Place the cream and boursin cheese in a mixing bowl to let them warm up a bit. Shred the gruyère and add to the bowl.
  3. Drain the artichokes. Squeeze by hand the liquid from the artichokes. Doing this twice works best.
  4. Once the cheeses are soft enough to mix together with a large spoon, add the yogurt, cayenne, 1 cup of the gruyère (the rest is for a topping) and add the artichokes (break these up between your hands as you add them to the bowl).
  5. Mix all ingredients and spread mixture in an 8×8” baking dish or gratin dish. Sprinkle on the remaining gruyère and place in oven. Bake for 15 minutes or until bubbling. Turn on the broiler for 2-3 minutes to create a lovely, cheesy crust. Serve hot or warm (see serving ideas below).

Substitution and taste notes options:

  • Salt: This is not a missing ingredient! There is salt because the ingredients have enough added sodium to enhance flavors and balance the taste profile.
  • Yogurt: Greek yogurt adds tang and a thicker texture than typical yogurt. Often artichoke gratins or dips use lemon juice or zest for a fresh tang, but Greek yogurt does double duty.
  • Boursin: This soft cow-milk French cheese is often made with parsley, chives, white pepper and garlic. Or add these ingredients to a soft-style goat cheese.
  • Gruyère: A cow-milk cheese that melts well with nutty flavors. Can be replaced by other cheeses that melt well like fontina and have mild flavors. Strong flavored-cheese like cheddar overwhelm the artichoke and herb notes.

Love cheese? Here’s a few notes on enjoying cheese & French cheese passion:

  • Top with some Panko or fresh bread crumbs that have been lightly softened with some butter or olive oil for a crunchy bread topping
  • Serve as a dip with crackers, crostini or use as a topping for a sandwich tartine
  • Toss in 3/4 cup of cooked spinach that has been well squeezed to remove any juices but add just a bit more cheese and yogurt to maintain the gratin texture
Boursin-yogurt-artichoke-gratin-on-table
“Tout le gratin sera là!” = “Everybody who’s anybody will be there!”

Laura K Lawless French language expert

About Me

The pleasure of food, good health and well-being through simple habits for eating well and flexitarian low-key cooking.
Michele Redmond

Michele Redmond

French-trained Chef, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist & Food Enjoyment Activist

It's about Making Food First

Get Taste Workshop periodic updates on easy ways to choose and cook foods that satisfy your appetite, nurture your body and make eating well a pleasure.

Crepes and Crêpes Célestines | Herbed Crepes

Crepes and Crêpes Célestines | Herbed Crepes

Crepes and Crêpes Célestines | Herbed Crepes

Crêpes Célestines
Crêpes are full of contradictions. They are fancy foods, yet street foods. They are rich and decadent but can be simple and nutrient dense. They are quick or they can be turned into fancy purses as in aumônières de crêpes or other culinary art tricks. They are French, yet Italy, Isreal, Hungary, China and other countries have their own similar versions.

There is no contradicting, however, that crêpes are a flavorful and texture delight to eat and easily diversify anyone’s menu. Crêpes Célestines is a recipe I made at in Paris during culinary school. The name is a bit of a mystery as many French dishes use Célestine to refer to a dish made in the style of “Célestine” a woman of unclear historical origins but may have been from Lyon (more on French recipe naming methods later).

I’ve seen dishes named omelettes, consommé, potage (soup) all in the “célestine style.” The term may also be connected, at times, to using green, leafy herbs as an ingredient (not as a garnish).

Crêpes crepes

Crepes and Crêpes Célestines 

Ingredients:

  • 1½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup cold water
  • 1¼ cup milk
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter—not hot
  • Clarified butter, organic canola or vegetable oil for cooking

Optional: ½ teaspoon fine sea salt (see taste notes below)

 “Crêpes Célestines” additions: 3 branches of chervil or other green herb, chopped

Batter steps: (can be done up to two days in advance)

Vite Vite (blender versions) Add all the ingredients to a blender and mix until a smooth batter forms or add all the ingredients to a medium-sized bowl and mix with a hand-held immersion blender. Go to step 2. Traditional method: Burns some calories and you don’t have to clean a blender-yay!

  1. Add the flour and salt to a medium-sized bowl and whisk. Add the eggs, butter and milk and whisk to incorporate then add the water and whisk until combined and smooth. The refrigeration step will often fix any lumpy batter patches.
  2. Batter should coat the back of a spoon like a heavy cream, but if it is too thick, add a bit more of water or milk.
  3. Refrigerate for 2 hours or for up to two days. In pinch, I’ve used crêpe batter after only a 30-minute rest, but texture isn’t ideal and crêpes don’t form as well.

Crêpe steps: Making crêpes:

  1. Heat a nonstick skillet or crêpe pan with 6″-7″ base (or larger for a smaller number of crêpes) over medium-high heat then add just enough oil or clarified butter to lightly coat the skillet.
  2. Stir the batter and scoop out about 1/4 cup of batter (a 2-ounce ladle works best).
  3. Slightly tilt the skillet and pour the batter near the higher side of the skillet and swirl the batter counterclockwise around bottom of pan by rotating the pan with your wrist until the entire surface is thinly coated. Try not to get the batter on the skillet edges. Place skillet back on heat.
  4. Cook 1-2 minutes and flip when crêpe begins to color golden brown on the pan-side down. Then cook another 30 seconds to 1 minute.
  5. Place crêpes on a rack to cool; however, a plate works fine as well. These crêpes don’t stick together.

Crêpes and Crêpes Célestines

Substitutions / Options:
  • You can substitute a lower-fat milk, but it does change the texture and flavor.
  • All-purpose flour works best and yields a traditional product. If you want a more nutrient-dense crêpe, I don’t recommend whole wheat flour, instead go French and make buckwheat crepes for higher fiber and a nutty flavor and unique texture profile.
  • Butter can be used; however, it can smoke at higher heats used for crêpes.
  • Salt enhances the flour flavor and the amount used in this recipe doesn’t prevent the crêpes from doing double duty as dessert crêpes. Most dessert crêpes add sugar to the batter, but I don’t miss sweet dessert ingredients used.
Resting is important:
  • it reduces the air bubbles that can cause crêpes to tear or have weak spots
  • the gluten has time to relax to ensure tender, more content crêpes
  • Savory street crêpes fillings:
    • 4 pieces of Prosciutto or ham or eggs (cook sunny-side up on cooked crepe)
    • 4 slices of Gruyere, Swiss or Monterey or other cheese
    • Some vegetables: baby spinach, Swiss chard, roasted asparagus, artichokes, sun-dried tomatoes, caramelized How to Caramelize Onions, Caramelized Onions Recipe Recipe | Simply Recipes, mushrooms, roasted peppers, tomato etc.
    • Flavors/seasoning options: Ground pepper, sea salt, mustard, basil, olive oil

“Love is a fire of flaming brandy Upon a crêpe suzette”

10cc, ‘Life is a Minestrone’

About Me

The pleasure of food, good health and well-being through simple habits for eating well and flexitarian low-key cooking.
Michele Redmond

Michele Redmond

French-trained Chef, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist & Food Enjoyment Activist

It's about Making Food First

Get Taste Workshop periodic updates on easy ways to choose and cook foods that satisfy your appetite, nurture your body and make eating well a pleasure.

Garlic and Walnut Herb Sauce with Nutritional Yeast

Garlic and Walnut Herb Sauce with Nutritional Yeast

Garlic and Walnut Herb Sauce with Nutritional Yeast

Garlic walnut herb sauce with nutritional yeast

Garlic and Walnut Herb Sauce with Nutritional Yeast

This sauce is a creamy pesto-like sauce with parsley, walnuts and extra garlic but instead of cheese or added salt, it uses nutritional yeast.   Some people call this “nooch”, to give it a more affectionate, shorter name. Despite the technical, yet correct, ingredient name or its cutesy nickname, nutritional yeast offers authentic nutrient benefits and culinary options as a cheese substitute, low-sodium ingredient and thickener.   I don’t typically use products to substitute for authentic or “real food” ingredients, but I make an exception periodically with nutritional yeast. In addition to its great amino acid and fiber profile, has surprising savory, umami notes when cheese isn’t an option (see the tasting section below).

Garlic and Walnut Herb Sauce with Nutritional Yeast

 Makes 1 cup

Ingredients

  • 5-6 garlic cloves, peeled and the hard stem base is removed
  • ⅔ cup unsalted walnut pieces
  • 1½ cup tightly packed fresh parsley ( 1½-2 ounces w/ stems)
  • ½ cup tightly packed fresh basil (a bit over ½ ounce w/ stems)
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast (picture posted below)
  • ¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil (plus 2 tablespoons if a more liquid sauce is desired)
  • 1½ tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Optional: ⅛ teaspoon cayenne (resist the temptation to add a lot more cayenne since it will mute the herb and nutty flavors)

Prep Steps:

  1. Add the garlic and walnuts to a blender and pulse a few times for a course mixture.
  2. Rinse and dry the herbs. Destem the herbs, but some of the thinner parsley stems won’t be a problem.
  3. Add the herbs, nutritional yeast, olive oil, lemon juice and salt. Blend until sauce is smooth.
  4. Serve immediately. If storing in the refrigerator for later use, place plastic wrap directly on the exposed surface area to reduce oxidation which will turn the bright green color to a more muted army green color.

Garlic and Walnut Herb Sauce

  • Nutritional yeast provides the full range of essential amino acids, but most importantly (since it has to taste good!), it offers savory umami attributes due to glutamic acid.
  • In this recipe, the perception of umami is further triggered by the use of walnuts, also high in glutamatic acid.
  • Nutritional yeast adds salty notes to the sauce despite its minor sodium contribution of 5 mg for 3 tablespoons. Three tablespoons of this brand also offers a nice fiber boost at 5 grams.

I used KAL Brand of Nutritional Yeast Flakes purchased from Whole Foods and available in bulk at some grocery stores. I have no preference for brands; however, there are some taste, texture and quality differences.

  • Serve as a topping for roasted veggies
  • Excellent as a dip for roasted cauliflower florets or raw vegetables
  • Use as a sauce for pasta, rice, salmon, sautéed tofu or poultry
  • Use to garnish tops of creamy soups
Nutritional yeast spoon

“A nickel will get you on the subway, but garlic will get you a seat.”

~Old New York Proverb

About Me

The pleasure of food, good health and well-being through simple habits for eating well and flexitarian low-key cooking.
Michele Redmond

Michele Redmond

French-trained Chef, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist & Food Enjoyment Activist

It's about Making Food First

Get Taste Workshop periodic updates on easy ways to choose and cook foods that satisfy your appetite, nurture your body and make eating well a pleasure.

X