Making a gratin d’oignons perlés à la crème requires two steps. First, braise the onions the way you would to cook pearl onion confit, then finish them in the oven as a gratin.
The pearl onion gratin is composed of pearl onions, crème fraîche, thyme, red chili flakes, nutmeg and parmesan. It’s a nice accompaniment to poultry. I served it with the roasted pheasant stuffed with sage and Granny Smith apples I made for my 4-course French meal in honor of the movie "Julie and Julia".
One trick to making this dish look great is to use the right serving dish. I especially like these individual serving dishes, which I got from Staub.
1. Info for Creamy Pearl Onion Gratin (Gratin d’Oignons Perles a la Creme)
- Cook Time: unavailable
- Total Time: unavailable
- Servings: 6
- Calories: unavailable
2. Ingredients for Creamy Pearl Onion Gratin (Gratin d’Oignons Perles a la Creme)
- 3 (10-ounce) bags pearl onions
- 1-1/2 cups water
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/4 teaspoon white peppercorns, freshly ground
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 (10-ounce) container crème fraîche
- 1 pinch nutmeg
- 1 pinch red chili flakes
- 1 sprig thyme
- 3 tablespoons whole milk, warm or at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese powder
- 1 teaspoon flat leaf parsley, optional
- In a deep skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the sprig of thyme, butter and pearl onions. Cook for about 2-3 minutes until golden. Remove and reserve as much butter as possible in a bowl. Set aside.
- Pour the water over the pearl onions. Bring to a boil, then immediately reduce to medium-low, for about 5 minutes, uncovered. Stir occasionally. Add about a tablespoon of crème fraîche. Season with a little salt. Cover with a lid and cook for another 20 minutes or so. Check the liquid; the water should evaporate. If you’re afraid that the onions will burn before getting tender, add a little more water if the liquid is reduced. The texture of the pearl onions should be soft but still firm. Remove and discard the thyme.
- Preheat the oven to 425°F.
- Brush an oven-proof serving dish with olive oil. Place the pearl onions in the dish. Set aside.
- For the béchamel sauce, pour the butter back into the same skillet. Wait until it’s hot, then add the flour. Keep stirring with a whisk for approximately 2 minutes. The flour should absorb the butter instantly and form a paste. Add milk and the remaining crème fraîche. Increase the heat while constantly stirring for about 5 minutes. Lower the heat to low. Add salt, pepper, red chili flakes, 3 tablespoons of parmesan powder and nutmeg. Cook for another minute. Cover the pearl onions with the sauce. Sprinkle on the remaining parmesan powder.
- Bake the pearl onions in the oven at 400°F for 15 minutes until browned and golden. Broil on low for another 2 minutes if necessary.
- Serve with poultry. Garnish with a flat parsley leaf (optional).
- Bon appétit!