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Alternative gratin toppings?

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Most gratin recipes call for a topping of bread crumbs/panko but do you have a favourite alternative? (I know crackers are used sometimes but I prefer to avoid anything pre-processed.) This would be for a saucy cauliflower/cheese gratin.

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  1. I like a browned top rather than a crunchy one, so I finish the dish with a layer of cheese drizzled with heavy cream. It makes it so brown and yummy.

    1. Puff pastry perhaps?

      Sort of like a vegetable pot pie?

      1. Ground nuts, especially almonds and walnuts with a little thyme and super-sharp grated cheddar or parm are delicious. That's my go-to gratin topping when I know my nut-allergic son won't be eating with us.

        1. Reviving my year-old question because I just saw this article: http://www.thekitchn.com/broccoli-the...

          Has anyone tried this?

          1 Reply
          1. re: queueueuq

            You never responded to the first replies l - :

          2. Corn flakes might make an interesting topping.

            1. Crushed butter crackers, ground potato chips

              1. Phyllo sheets ?

                Crunchy noodles (use Asian noodles) ?

                1. I don't know about the broccoli thing, personally I would rather have that in the pasta dish, rather than all dried out and chewy on top of it.

                  How about some crisped up meats? Crumbled bacon is obvious, or perhaps try some other stuff like dicing and frying up some salami until it's crisp.

                  Or perhaps make some parmesan crisps, then crumble them over it after it comes out of the oven.

                  Or maybe go the fried onion route. On The Chew, they made their own home made ones by deep frying breaded shallot rings.

                  Some others on here mentioned nuts already, but slivered almonds were the first thing that came to mind when I read this.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Atomic76

                    Thanks, tried the fried onion idea tonight and it worked well! I didn't bread them, as I wanted to stick to avoiding breadcrumbs. (If I ate meat, I'd definitely go for bacon.)

                    Agreed, the broccoli doesn't sound appealing but if anyone tries it, I'd love to hear how it turned out.

                  2. More cheese? It'll get nice and crispy if you broil it at the end...