CAULIFLOWER AU GRATIN

IF YOU'RE AN OMNIVORE IT'S NOT EASY TO FIND VEGETARIAN DISHES WHICH ARE SATISFYING BUT NOT FATTENING.  PASTAS, POTATOES AND RISOTTOS ARE CERTAINLY GRATIFYING ALTERNATIVES TO MEAT, BUT THEY WON'T HELP YOU FIGHT OFF THE COVID 15.   ONE SOLUTION IS CAULIFLOWER AU GRATIN.  THIS IS SIMPLY A POTATO GRATIN WITH CAULIFLOWER, BUT BECAUSE THE LATTER IS SO LOW IN CALORIES, YOU CAN INDULGE YOURSELF WITH CREAM, BUTTER, CHEESE, AND BREADCRUMBS.  AND BY NOT OVERCOOKING THE CAULIFLOWER, THOSE RICH INGREDIENTS ARE OFFSET BY THE FLAVORFUL  CRUNCH OF THE VEGETABLE WHICH MARK TWAIN DESCRIBED AS "CABBAGE WITH A COLLEGE EDUCATION."  

 1 SMALL CAULIFLOWER
 2 cups GRUYERE, RACLETTE, TALEGGIO OR A COMBINATION OF CHEESES
 1 GARLIC CLOVE
 2 cups WHOLE MILK
 3 tbsp SWEET BUTTER
 3 tbsp FLOUR
 ½ cup BREADCRUMBS
 ½ cup PARMESAN CHEESE
 FRESH CHIVES

1

SET OVEN RACK ON THE HIGHEST LEVEL. PRE-HEAT OVEN TO 450º

USING A SMALL PIECE OF WAXED PAPER, BUTTER THE INSIDE OF AN AU GRATIN DISH. SPRINKLE WITH KOSHER OR SEA SALT. CUT ONE CLOVE OF GARLIC IN HALF AND RUB THE GARLIC AROUND THE INSIDE OF THE AU GRATIN DISH.

TRIM THE FLORETS FROM THE CAULIFLOWER. SLICE THE LEFTOVER CORE INTO 1/2-INCH PIECES.

ROUGHLY GRATE A CUP OF CHEESE(S).

RINSE OUT A SMALL SAUCE POT. ADD 2 CUPS OF MILK WITHOUT DRYING THE POT. BRING THE MILK TO A SIMMER.

MELT 3 TBSPS OF BUTTER IN A LARGE, HEAVY-BOTTOMED SAUCE POT. WHEN THE FOAM SUBSIDES, DUMP IN 3 TBSPS OF FLOUR. STIR WITH WIRE WHISK. WHEN THE BUBBLES ON THE SURFACE DISAPPEAR, TAKE THE POT OFF THE HEAT AND POUR IN THE MILK, BEATING VIGOROUSLY WITH YOUR WHISK.

RETURN TO THE HEAT AND CONTINUE TO BEAT WITH THE WHIP TILL THE ROUX THICKENS.

STIR IN THE CHEESE(S) WITH A WOODEN SPOON. WHEN THEY'VE MELTED INTO THE ROUX, ADD THE CAULIFLOWER. COOK FOR A MINUTE OR TWO TURNING OVER THE CAULIFLOWER SO IT'S EVENLY COATED WITH THE ROUX.

POUR THE MIXTURE INTO THE AU GRATIN DISH. SPRINKLE WITH GRATED PARMESAN AND BREADCRUMBS.

PLACE IN THE OVEN TO BROWN FOR ABOUT 10 MINUTES, DEPENDING ON HOW HOT YOUR OVEN IS.

REMOVE FROM THE OVEN. SCATTER GENEROUSLY WITH CHOPPED CHIVES.

SERVES 4

NOTE: THIS RECIPE IS FOR A SMALL CAULIFLOWER. IF YOU'RE PREPARING A LARGER ONE, INCREASE THE OTHER INGREDIENTS ACCORDINGLY. AS I DISCOVERED THE SECOND TIME I MADE IT WITH A MUCH LARGER CAULIFLOWER, I WOUND UP DOUBLING THE MILK, BUTTER, FLOUR, ETC.

Ingredients

 1 SMALL CAULIFLOWER
 2 cups GRUYERE, RACLETTE, TALEGGIO OR A COMBINATION OF CHEESES
 1 GARLIC CLOVE
 2 cups WHOLE MILK
 3 tbsp SWEET BUTTER
 3 tbsp FLOUR
 ½ cup BREADCRUMBS
 ½ cup PARMESAN CHEESE
 FRESH CHIVES

Directions

1

SET OVEN RACK ON THE HIGHEST LEVEL. PRE-HEAT OVEN TO 450º

USING A SMALL PIECE OF WAXED PAPER, BUTTER THE INSIDE OF AN AU GRATIN DISH. SPRINKLE WITH KOSHER OR SEA SALT. CUT ONE CLOVE OF GARLIC IN HALF AND RUB THE GARLIC AROUND THE INSIDE OF THE AU GRATIN DISH.

TRIM THE FLORETS FROM THE CAULIFLOWER. SLICE THE LEFTOVER CORE INTO 1/2-INCH PIECES.

ROUGHLY GRATE A CUP OF CHEESE(S).

RINSE OUT A SMALL SAUCE POT. ADD 2 CUPS OF MILK WITHOUT DRYING THE POT. BRING THE MILK TO A SIMMER.

MELT 3 TBSPS OF BUTTER IN A LARGE, HEAVY-BOTTOMED SAUCE POT. WHEN THE FOAM SUBSIDES, DUMP IN 3 TBSPS OF FLOUR. STIR WITH WIRE WHISK. WHEN THE BUBBLES ON THE SURFACE DISAPPEAR, TAKE THE POT OFF THE HEAT AND POUR IN THE MILK, BEATING VIGOROUSLY WITH YOUR WHISK.

RETURN TO THE HEAT AND CONTINUE TO BEAT WITH THE WHIP TILL THE ROUX THICKENS.

STIR IN THE CHEESE(S) WITH A WOODEN SPOON. WHEN THEY'VE MELTED INTO THE ROUX, ADD THE CAULIFLOWER. COOK FOR A MINUTE OR TWO TURNING OVER THE CAULIFLOWER SO IT'S EVENLY COATED WITH THE ROUX.

POUR THE MIXTURE INTO THE AU GRATIN DISH. SPRINKLE WITH GRATED PARMESAN AND BREADCRUMBS.

PLACE IN THE OVEN TO BROWN FOR ABOUT 10 MINUTES, DEPENDING ON HOW HOT YOUR OVEN IS.

REMOVE FROM THE OVEN. SCATTER GENEROUSLY WITH CHOPPED CHIVES.

SERVES 4

NOTE: THIS RECIPE IS FOR A SMALL CAULIFLOWER. IF YOU'RE PREPARING A LARGER ONE, INCREASE THE OTHER INGREDIENTS ACCORDINGLY. AS I DISCOVERED THE SECOND TIME I MADE IT WITH A MUCH LARGER CAULIFLOWER, I WOUND UP DOUBLING THE MILK, BUTTER, FLOUR, ETC.
CAULIFLOWER AU GRATIN
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