Bookmark and Share

Three-Onion Gratin

By Judith Hausman, Urban Farm contributor

Wednesday, May 15, 2013


Photo by Judith Hausman

Most everyone will enjoy a three-onion gratin.

When you need quick recipe that will satisfy several different appetites, you might try calling on the in-season onion family. For Mothers Day, I did the cooking. I had to please a couple of hearty and discerning young appetites; a couple of weight-conscious, middle-aged appetites; and a downright picky senior eater. Enter the onion family. 

Enriched and softened and then sprinkled with just a little cheese, a combination of sweet onions, leeks and scallions made a satisfying springtime lunch. The three-onion gratin could also have served as a special side dish for a larger meal. I served it with a simple salad, good bread and baked rhubarb and apricots for dessert. 

Make sure to clean the often-sandy leeks well by slicing the white and light green sections lengthwise and rinsing the layers. Let the dish be vegetarian (as listed here), or crumble in three strips of cooked bacon or a half cup of diced ham. You can also use all or part heavy cream, if you like. 

Choose your cheese, too. Instead of Parmesan, try 3 ounces of crumbled, soft goat cheese; 3 ounces of crumbled gorgonzola; or even a 1/2 cup of grated gruyere. You can also substitute smoked paprika or oregano for the herbs. 

Serves: 4 to 6


Three-Onion Gratin


  • 2 medium yellow onions, quartered 
  • 4 medium leeks, about 2 pounds
  • 1/4 cup olive oil 
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste 
  • 2 to 3 scallions, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter 
  • 2 tablespoons flour 
  • 1 cup whole milk or evaporated whole milk
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine 
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped 
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan, grated 
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika

Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Toss onions and leeks with oil in a 9-by-11-inch baking dish, and season with salt and pepper. Bake for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add in the scallions, and cook for another 20 minutes or so, until everything is soft and lightly browned. Set aside. 

Heat oven to broil.

Melt butter in a 2-quart saucepan over medium-high heat; add flour, and cook, stirring, until smooth (about 1 minute). Little by little, stir in milk; when the sauce begins to thicken, add the wine. Cook carefully for about 5 minutes, stirring to keep smooth. Season sauce with salt, pepper and thyme.

Pour sauce evenly over onions. Sprinkle with cheese and paprika. Broil until cheese is melted and lightly browned.


You might also enjoy these Locavore Recipes:

Flaming Tart

Onion Biscuits

Read more of Locavore Recipes »

Give us your opinion on Three-Onion Gratin.
Submit Comment »
Looks delicious
Annie, Houston, TX
Posted: 6/18/2013 6:49:16 AM
Looks like a good and tasty recipe.
Carl, Livermore, CA
Posted: 5/24/2013 11:00:49 AM
I love this recipe. Simple, tasty and seasonal!
Sergio, Irvine, CA
Posted: 5/16/2013 7:03:23 AM

About the Blogger

Judith Hausman

Judith Hausman
As a long-time freelance food writer, Judith Hausman has written about every aspect of food, but local producers and artisanal traditions remain closest to her heart. Eating close to home takes this seasonal eater through a journey of delights and dilemmas, one tiny deck garden, farmers’ market discovery and easy-as-pie recipe at a time. She writes from a still-bucolic but ever-more-suburban town in the New York City 'burbs.

Related Articles


Top Products
Gold Standard

*Content generated by our loyal visitors, which includes comments and club postings, is free of constraints from our editors’ red pens, and therefore not governed by I-5 Publishing, LLC’s Gold Standard Quality Content, but instead allowed to follow the free form expression necessary for quick, inspired and spontaneous communication.

Would you like to receive Farmer in the City Newsletters?X Close Window
Please provide us with your email address in order to access this valuable sustainable-living content.
Fields marked with an asterisk * are required.
* Are you at least 13 years old?
* First Name:
* Last Name:
* Email:
* City:
* State/Province:
* Enter the code shown:

  Yes, I would like to get valuable information from UrbanFarmOnline.com.
In order to opt-out of our newsletters, you can click on the "unsubscribe" link in the bottom of the newsletter.
  Yes, I would like to get valuable information from UrbanFarmOnline.com partners.