Recipe For Creamy Pearl Onion Gratin (Gratin d’Oignons Perles a la Creme)


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

3. Directions:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
  4. Brush an oven-proof serving dish with olive oil. Place the pearl onions in the dish. Set aside.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Serve with poultry. Garnish with a flat parsley leaf (optional).
  8. Bon appétit!

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