Cauliflower au gratin

 

Cauliflower au gratin
(adapted from Julia Child’s recipe)

  • 1 large (8-10″) cauliflower crown
  • 2 Tbsp. breadcrumbs
  • 1 Tbsp. melted butter

Béchamel Sauce:

  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 3 Tbsp. flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • pinch of pepper
  • 3/4 cup Gruyère or other Swiss cheese, grated
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Prepare the cauliflower be removing all the leaves and cutting it into small florets. In a saucepan, bring 5 cups of water to a boil and add blanch the cauliflower by boiling it for 10 minutes over medium-high heat. immediately remove from the heat, drain, and place the cauliflower in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process.

In a saucepan over medium-low heat, melt butter and then add in flour. Stir with a wooden spoon for 2 minutes, until it is covered with tiny bubbles and has a beige color to it. This is your roux for the sauce.

Meanwhile, pour milk into a glass measuring cup and heat in microwave for 2-2 1/2 minutes, or until hot to touch and steaming. Add the milk slowly into the flour mixture, whisking to mix all the components together.

Turn heat up to medium and continue whisking while the liquid turns into a thick sauce. Do not let it boil. Once the thickness is achieved, take off heat and add in nutmeg and pepper to taste.

Stir in cheeses until melted. Set aside.

In a lightly buttered round 8″ by 2″ tall casserole dish, pour 1/3 of the sauce onto the bottom. Add in cauliflower and sprinkle some more pepper, if desired.

Pour the remaining sauce over the top. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs (I also added in some extra Gruyère cheese) on top and drizzle with melted butter (or olive oil).

Place uncovered in the top 1/3 part of the oven and bake until heated through, with a slight “golden crust” on top. Serve immediately.

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