Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Cauliflower Au Gratin

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What's your favorite vegetable? When I heard The Baron's response, I was surprised to hear it's cauliflower. Really? Honestly, I don't really use cauliflower very often so I was intrigued. Roasted cauliflower is one of his favorite ways to enjoy this cruciferous vegetable. Well, in an effort to cater to The Baron's food faves, I looked for some cauliflower recipes I could try out. This Cauliflower Au Gratin caught my eye - tender cauliflower nestles under a blanket of a creamy Parmesan and Gruyere cheese sauce and baked with a light breadcrumb topping. If you want to get turned on to more cauliflower in your diet, this is a delicious start...



I admit, cauliflower is one vegetable I really haven't paid much attention to. It certainly isn't a staple ingredient I work with and upon first glance, it looks like broccoli's boring sibling. But thanks to The Baron, I've learned to appreciate cauliflower a little bit more. It's just like broccoli and the flavor is much milder, making it a great vehicle to pick up other flavors. And in this particular dish, it goes so well with cheese. One thing to note is not to overcook the cauliflower so it still has some bite and texture. I overcooked the cauliflower in this dish by a little bit, making it slightly mushier - so don't over to it! I used Glutino gluten free breadcrumbs, but next time I'll just make my own using gluten free bread. Other than that, both The Baron and I enjoyed this side dish!

Cauliflower Au Gratin
recipe adapted from Ina Garten

1 (3-pound) head cauliflower, cut into large florets
Kosher salt
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, divided
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour {or gluten free flour blend}
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 fresh bread crumbs {or gluten free bread crumbs}


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Cook the cauliflower florets in a large pot of boiling salted water for 5 to 6 minutes, until tender but still firm. Drain.

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 the Parmesan.

Pour 1/3 of the sauce on the bottom of an 8 by 11 by 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. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the top is browned. Serve hot or at room temperature.


Speaking of gluten free goodness, I'm competing in a local Chicago baking contest and would love your support! If you could please vote for my Caramel Apple Spice Cupcakes through Facebook {if you haven't already}, I would greatly appreciate it and would love to represent Chicago with these! Voting continues through Saturday, November 4th so if you can spare a clicky vote on Facebook for me, I'd be so grateful! :)

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