CAULIFLOWER GRATIN

I’d admired the look of this recipe from Rachel Khoo’s ‘Little Paris Kitchen’ for a while but not made it as I didn’t know what to serve it with. I’m not really sure why this was an issue because I’ve bought cauliflower cheese meals and eaten them just as they were. It feels like dinner party food but really it’s just a mornay sauce – (béchamel + cheese) baked with some veg and topped with breadcrumbs and hazelnuts. The cauliflower could be replaced with another kind of vegetable including potato and I’m sure it would still be good if you just have a bit of leftover cheddar to use up rather than a fancy comté. I might even anglify this and try out a broccoli, walnut and stilton gratin.

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 2 cauliflowers
  • 50 g hazelnuts
  • 1 slice toast (I used a bagel thin)
  • 30g butter
  • 30g plain flour
  • 500ml milk (I used soy milk)
  • 1/4 onion
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 clove
  • pinch nutmeg
  • salt
  • 200g comté/gruyère cheese
  • 50g parmesan

Method

1.) Preheat the oven to 180 degrees

1.) Chop the cauliflower into florets then cook until tender (steam, boil or roast)

2.) Drain off any residual water or stick in the oven for 5 minutes

3.) Now make the mornay sauce. Peel and chop the onion finely. Weigh out the butter into the pan. Weigh out the flour into a separate bowl. Grate the cheeses. Measure out the milk.

4.) Melt the butter in the pan. Add the flour and beat with a wooden spoon into a paste. Cook off for another minute.

5.) Take the pan off the heat and whisk in the milk in increments until all combined.

6.) Put back on the hob, add the onion, clove and bay leaf and simmer for 10 minutes.

7.) When done, sieve out the onion, clove and bay leaf and add a pinch of nutmeg and some salt.

8.) Weigh out the hazelnuts and bash them in a pestle and mortar.

9.) Bash up the toast into breadcrumbs.

10.) Add most of the cheese to the sauce and stir until it melts.

11.) Mix the cheese sauce together with the cauliflower.

12.) Pour the cauliflower mixture into 3 loaf tins.

13.) Sprinkle over the rest of the cheese, the breadcrumbs and the hazelnuts over the loaf tins.

14.) Bake them in the oven for 10 minutes.

15.) Switch to the grill setting and grill until lightly toasted (less so than mine – I was distracted by the football!)

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