Cauliflower is a kind of underrated vegetable.
It’s very high in Vitamin C and is rumored to fight carcinogens.
You just don’t see a lot of it on the table.
I’m about to change all that at my house…due to this recipe which features cauliflower and Gruyere cheese, which most undoubtably are the perfect pair. Gruyere and cauliflower were just made for each other. The earthiness of the Gruyere just really sets off the cauliflower so beautifully.
To begin, start a medium-size kettle of salted water boiling on the stove. Then preheat your oven to 375º.
Then, you’ll need to take a good size head of cauliflower.
We need to get the core and those green leaves off the cauliflower. I have no idea if this is the professional way to do this, but this is the solution I’ve found.
I usually always find a solution, but it’s not always pretty.
I whack across the bottom of the stem and leaves, not cutting into the white part at all. Okay, maybe a little of the stem.
I peel off what leaves I can, then I take a smaller knife and cut around the core down into the cauliflower.
Then I just pull the head apart into florets that are similar in size, to ensure even cooking.
Toss these into your boiling water and set a timer for 5 minutes.
While that’s cooking, make your sauce. This is a basic Béchamel sauce, and one of the four “Mother Sauces” of French cuisine, which is really just a fancy schmancy name for a rue (flour and butter) whisked with milk or cream.
Take 4 tablespoons of butter and cut them in half. We’ll use half now, and half later.
Toss one half of this into a small saucepan over low heat, and let it melt.
Also add in 3 tablespoons of flour, and whisk away for about 2 minutes to cook the floury taste out.
Now’s the time to decide.
Do you want to be good, or do you want to be very…very bad? If you want to be good, measure out 2 cups of milk.
But if you want to be bad, use heavy cream instead. Add it in, one cup at a time to your butter/flour mixture.
Whisk away until the sauce begins to bubble and keep stirring after that for a minute. Your sauce will begin to thicken-up and be smooth and creamy.
Then remove your pan from the heat. Add in some salt and pepper and a little nutmeg. Nutmeg is always a great addition to a cream-based sauce.
Also, grate up one and one-half cup of Gruyere cheese. Reserve the one-half cup for later. Take one cup, however, and dump it into the pot. Gruyere is this wonderful earthy, nutty, slightly salty cheese..mmmm.
Please look beyond the little corners that have been nibbled off of this yummy cheese….by….
Stir this up for a minute, and then…resisting the urge to take a spoon and just eat this right out of the pot, take a gratin dish, or a 9 x 11 dish and pour half of this creamy goodness right on the bottom.
And kind of spread it evenly over the bottom. It doesn’t have to be perfect.
Hopefully when your timer went off, you drained your cooked cauliflower. Dump it right on top of your cheese sauce.
Now take the other half of your cheese sauce and pour it right over top of this trying to coat every floret of cauliflower.
You might need to spread it around a little to get it even.
Now get some Panko.
I adore Panko. It’s my new favorite thing. Panko is nothing more than a Japanese style of bread crumb. What makes it special, is that instead of tiny round bits of bread, Panko is a more flat, flaky variety which allows more surface area to crisp up whatever you may wish to put it on.
Mix 1/2 cup of Panko with your reserved 1/2 cup of Gruyere. Just take your fingers and mix them together in a bowl.
You know where I’m going with this doncha?
Sprinkle it evenly right over top of your gratin.
Sprinkle on a little bit more salt and pepper.
I love, love, LOVE my new electric pepper grinder..it makes life so simple.
Melt your remaining 2 tablespoons of butter (just use your microwave) and drizzle it lightly over top of the crumb/cheese mixture.
Pop your gratin into the oven for about 20 minutes or until the top is nice and golden and beginning to brown in spots.
At which point you’ll pull it out….
And you’ll dip a spoon into it.
And you’ll put some on a plate.
and you’ll taste it and say…
Katie’s Printable Recipe – Cauliflower Gratin