Friday, April 3, 2009

Cauliflower Gratin

Looking at this picture, I'm not sure if you can even tell what it is. But it's an extremely delicious cauliflower gratin, with a very yummy cream sauce. Growing up my mom often made Alfredo sauce, which I loved, but I'd also like having Alfredo sauce when we went out to eat. The sauce in restaurants was usually different from what my mom made (both were good, usually my mom's was better) and I never realized until I made this what made it distinctly different - the nutmeg. Yes this may be so very obvious to many of you. And yes I have seen nutmeg listed in Alfredo sauce recipes but I had no idea that it contributed that certain flavour. So in conclusion, I am in love with the sauce on the cauliflower, and I've also used it on pasta.

If this sounds good, you might also like:
Audrey's Deluxe Mac & Cheese
Caribbean Roasted Vegetables
Squash and Aged White Cheddar Tart with Sage and Roasted Garlic Custard
Caramelized Onion, Sage and Cheddar Muffins

Cauliflower Gratin
Adapted from Ina Garten, found on Smitten Kitchen

My only adaptation was to use aged white Cheddar instead of Gruyere. I'd also use more bread crumbs next time (as suggested on Smitten Kitchen). Also, make sure you drain the steamed cauliflower very well otherwise it will water down your sauce.

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 aged white Cheddar, divided
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1/4 cup fresh 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.


VeggieGirl said...

Cauliflower is so underrated - I love it!! And I love both Ina Garten's and Deb's recipes :-) Great inspiration!!

Ricki said...

I agree w/ VeggieGirl--cauliflower needs more lovin'! A great way to appreciate it. :)

Pearl said...

you know, i have this weird anti-cauliflower thing because it's white.. i think i get weirded out because it reminds me of broccoli but it's white.

anyway! that gratin makes it look so good that i'm even willing to overlook my unsubstantiated avoidance of cauliflower! :)

Bunny said...

i mised the last 3 posts , the shortbread, the applespice bars OMG they look fantastic!! The gratin is being bookmarked as we speak, this looks sooooo good!!

Chris @ Beyond Ramen said...

You can't really go wrong with an Ina recipe :)

Vegetation said...

You can definitely tell what it is and it looks delicious!!

Elyse said...

Cauliflower gratin sounds absolutely delicious. I can see why you're in love with this sauce. It looks and sounds totally excellent!

Johanna said...

haven't had this for ages - timely reminder as it gets colder here - something my mum used to make and I always loved - but I never put nutmeg in - must try that next time!

Holler said...

This sounds so good! I haven't had cauliflower for ages and I never thought of adding nutmeg to myy sauce to go with it. Good thinking Ashley :)

mangocheeks said...

As cauliflower is in season, I have been trying to eat it in differnt guises, as its not one of my favourite vegetables, but this looks good, esp the topping.

Lisa said...

That's what I call comfort food!

Sarah said...

Cauliflower with cheesy sauce has got to be one of my favourite side dishes! or just eat a bowl on it's own! Soooo good! This looks great!

So how's Vancouver looking these days? I'm hoping to move back in the not too distant future. I'm missing the mountains so much!

Sarah said... the way, I sometimes use cinnamon in my cheese sauce, or nutmeg, or mixed spice, so I totally know what you mean. It really does make a world of difference! ;)

Steph said...

That looks really rich! I never knew that nutmeg was used in cheese sauces, thanks for sharing. Then again, I've never exactly had alfredo sauce. Well, I have, but it was Lipton's sidekicks and I'm not sure that really counts. Ever since that experience, along with KD, I havn't exactly been able to order anything type of cheese sauce...haha. That looks really delicious though! It sure beats the way I eat cauliflower, boiled in water with salt.

Grace said...

you're right, based on the picture alone i can't tell what it is. what i can tell is that there are crispy bread crumbs (yum) and a smooth and creamy sauce (yum yum), so i'm sold. :)

Beatrice said...

I like to put nutmeg in the cheese layer of lasagna.

I should try it in my mac and cheese!

Maris said...

That looks so much like macaroni and cheese; how amazing that it has a healthy veggie in it!

Anonymous said...

i adore any kind of gratin, but cauliflower is definitely one of the better ones!

kickpleat said...

Oh wow, that looks sooooo good and rich!

Mark Scarbrough said...

Yum. And I love cauliflower to boot. I once tried to figure out how to make candied cauliflower florets. Don't ask. Anyway, it only bespoke my love for the vegetable.

Anonymous said...

That picture really shows all of the cheesey goodness to the max.

Kevin said...

That cauliflower looks so cheesy and good!

Justin Schwartz said...

i think i have to make this immediately. thanks.