Okay guys, I know cauliflower is not chocolate. I know it’s not something that people sit around daydreaming about but I did crave it a whole lot lately. You see, I didn’t grow up eating steamed vegetables so when I think of cauliflower I recall it crisply fried, zestily pickled, braised in a tagine with savory tomato sauce or gratineed with béchamel sauce and cheese. It always made its appearance on our table in some exciting, perfectly crave-able form.
Cauliflower gratin was a staple in our house. My mother often made it as an accompaniment to grilled kebabs or roast chicken. It is a simple yet most satisfying side dish, the kind you can get used to pretty quickly.
This gratin is also wonderful with a mixture of cauliflower and ground beef for an easy, delicious all-in-one dinner. I must make it in the cooler days ahead!
CAULIFLOWER GRATIN RECIPE
Yield: 4 side servings
Prep Time: 10 min
Cook Time: 15 min
1 small head cauliflower, cut into florets
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 ½ cups milk
Sea salt and ground pepper, to taste
1/8 heaping teaspoon ground nutmeg
2/3 cup grated mildly sharp cheese like Jarlsberg, Swiss or gruyère
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the baking rack in the lower third of the oven.
Place the cauliflower florets on a microwave-safe plate, sprinkle them with a little salt and microwave them for 4 minutes until crisp-tender. Place the florets in an 8x8 baking dish in a single layer.
Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Add the flour and stir constantly until the mixture is bubbly. Gradually add the milk and stir constantly until you obtain a thick, creamy sauce. Remove from heat. Stir in the salt, pepper, nutmeg and half the grated cheese.
Spoon the sauce over the florets in the pan. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Bake 15 to 20 minutes, or until the cauliflower is soft and golden on the surface.
Let cool 5 to 10 minutes before enjoying.
Other cauliflower recipes: