First of all, I’d like to offer a huge congratulations to the winner of Crist’s Barefoot Contessa cookbook giveaway: Suzannah! Suzannah, we hope you enjoy your fabulous new cookbook, and make all kinds of delicious things from it. Additionally, I would like to thank Suzannah for providing one of the most hilarious comments ever for MY giveaway, as I laughed about it for a solid 20 minutes:
So, thanks for reading, and we hope you enjoy your new cookbook!
Moving on… Speaking of our girl Ina, I found this recipe of hers several years ago, when I was JUST starting to realize that cauliflower was not awful. If ever there was a way to convince me that a vegetable is delicious, just smother it in some cheese, top it with crispy breadcrumbs, and I’m sold!
I try to make this dish at least one each year during the holidays, because I love it so much. It’s pretty easy to make ahead, if you’re so inclined, but it’s not too bad to make the day of your big meal, either.
Cauliflower Gratin with Gruyere and Parmesan
adapted from here
serves 6-8 as a side
cauliflower (one large head, or two small), cut into florets
2 T butter
3 T all-purpose flour
2 cups whole milk
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
2/3 cup freshly grated gruyere
2/3 cup grated parmesan, divided
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
1.) Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt it generously, and then add your cauliflower. Cook the cauliflower for 4-6 minutes, until just tender (but still pretty firm). Remove the cauliflower to a prepared ice bath; leave in the ice bath for about 2 minutes, then drain and pat the cauliflower dry.
(If your cooking schedule is tight the day of your holiday meal, you can blanch the cauliflower the day before; once it’s been through the ice bath and patted dry, just put it all into a large ziploc bag, and throw that in the fridge until you’re ready for it.)
2.) Preheat your oven to 375°. In a small sauce pan, heat your milk over medium-low heat until it’s warm. Meanwhile, in a medium sauce pan, heat your butter over medium-low heat until melted; add the flour, and whisk until the flour and butter are totally combined and bubbling, and the raw flour taste is cooked out, about 2 minutes.
3.) Gently pour your warmed milk into the flour/butter mixture, whisking continuously. Keep whisking until the mixture comes to a boil and thickens slightly (this should only take a couple minutes).
4.) Turn your burner off, and stir in the salt, pepper, gruyere, and 1/2 cup of the parmesan. Gently stir until all the cheese is melted.
5.) Ladle 1/3 of your cheese sauce into the bottom of a baking dish (8×10-ish should be good). Spread the sauce out so it covers the bottom of the dish, then add your cauliflower. Ladle the rest of the sauce over the cauliflower evenly, and then evenly sprinkle the top of the dish with the panko, and remaining parmesan.
6.) Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the edges are brown and bubbly. Serve hot!
If you are still feeling ambivalent about cauliflower, this is a good recipe to start with. Lot of cheese and crunchy breadcrumbs to ease the pain of taking in all those awful nutrients and vitamins! I’d be willing to bet that you’ll end up fighting over who gets to take home the leftovers.
Oh! Speaking of leftovers! I fully realize that this will make you think I’m weird, but I am willing to risk that for the one or two people who read this blog that will actually try this out and love it: chop up the leftover cauliflower gratin and put it on a pizza (alone with some chopped up ham). Don’t THINK about it, just DO IT. Make your dough, drizzle it with a touch of olive oil, add the chopped up cauliflower gratin and ham, top with (freshly) grated mozzarella and (freshly) grated parmesan. (I know that grating your cheese by hand is a pain, but no one said cooking delicious food was easy. Just do it.) Bake until the cheese is golden brown and delicious, devour, and thank me later.
Is your holiday menu complete yet??