Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Cauliflower Gratin

I already like cauliflower, but if you don't and for some reason you have to make it (although I can't imagine a scenario where someone is forcing you to cook/eat cauliflower), then this is a good technique. Slather it with cheese sauce, sprinkle with bread crumbs (and more cheese) on top and cook until golden brown and crunchy. Why you'll barely taste the cauliflower (not really, but it is cauliflowericious).  

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

1 (3-pound) head cauliflower, cut into large florets
Kosher salt
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, divided
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups hot milk
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
3/4 cup freshly grated gruyere, divided
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan
1/4 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)

1.      Preheat oven to 375º F.
2.      Cook the cauliflower florets in a large pot of boiling salted water for 5 to 6 minutes, until tender but still firm. Drain.
3.      Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. Add the flour, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon for 2 minutes. Pour the hot milk into the butter-flour mixture and stir until it comes to a boil. Boil, whisking constantly, for 1 minute, or until thickened. Off the heat, add 1 teaspoon of salt, the pepper, nutmeg, 1/2 cup of the gruyere, and all the parmesan.
4.      Pour 1/3 of the sauce on the bottom of an 8- x 11- x 2-inch baking dish. Place the drained cauliflower on top and then spread the rest of the sauce evenly on top. Combine the bread crumbs with the remaining 1/4 cup of Gruyere and sprinkle on top. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and drizzle over the gratin. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
5.      Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the top is browned. Serve hot or at room temperature.

barely adapted from Ina Garten
cooking the cauliflower
adding flour to the melted butter
mixing the roux
milk whisked in
adding the cheeses and spices
cheese sauce spread in the pan
cauliflower in the pan
more cheese sauce on top
sprinkled with bread crumbs and more cheese
cauliflower gratin

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