Based on ecological reasons, my flatmate has recently decided to turn vegetarian. My, was she a bacon lover.
Nonetheless, I fully support and understand her choice. Despite being born omnivores, the impact and consequences of today’s meat and fish consumption are horrendous. Not only is the amount of water used to produce one pound of meat (ca. 1600 litres, no joke) disgusting, the amount of ongoing soy bean cultivation to create enough meal for livestock is equally shocking. Since the 90’s, soy bean production has doubled globally, with about 85% of the produce being used for oil and meal. On average, for the 87kg meat and 250 eggs each European eats per annum, 400m2 of land are needed per person to keep up with the demand. Unimaginable. The rapid expansion has led to invasion of natural habitats, (including woodlands, rainforests, savannahs in South America), damaging water reserves, soil quality, ultimately threatening wildlife and biodiversity.
Something has to change. Something has to change fast. Reducing your meat and dairy intake would be a great first step – it is mine.
That being said, I went through my recipe index and was shocked by the small percentage of vegetarian dishes cited. So, to improve that statistic, I got to work and am proud to present you with a simple mid-week vegetarian gratin. Not dairy free, but delicious. Meat is definitely not missed here. Also, keeping in tune with the ecological theme, it is avocado free.
Asparagus Mushroom Gratin
280g green asparagus, trimmed
250g mushrooms, sliced
2 tsp chopped rosemary
1 clove garlic, crushed
ca. 125g creme fraiche
ca. 60g parmesan, grated
ca. 60g bread crumbs
ca. 60g gruyere or emmentaler, grated
salt & pepper
- Preheat your oven to 200°C.
- In a frying pan, heat 2 tbsp olive oil and saute your mushrooms along with the rosemary until soft, for about 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil and blanch the asparagus for 2-3 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water.
- In a bowl, combine the creme fraiche with your crushed garlic, some salt & pepper.
- In another small bowl mix the parmesan with your breadcrumbs.
- Line the bottom of a gratin dish with all of the mushrooms. Top with half of the creme fraiche mixture, half of the parmesan/breadcrumbs, some ground nutmeg and salt & pepper.
- The next layer consists of the asparagus, arranged snug and tight next to each other. Again, top with creme fraiche, parmesan/breadcrumbs, nutmeg, salt&peppr. Finish off by sprinkling your gratin with the emmentaler/gruyere. Bake in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes, until the crust is golden.
- Serve with a fresh green salad and glass of rosé.