CAULIFLOWER GRATIN

THERE WERE BEAUTIFUL CAULIFLOWERS AS BIG AS MY HEAD AT THE FARMERS' MARKET AS I RACED THROUGH WITH MY SHOPPING BAG AND MASK.  CAULIFLOWER IS AN EMINENTLY ADAPTABLE VEGETABLE.  IT'S GOOD RAW OR COOKED, COLD OR HOT, STEAMED, ROASTED, DEEP-FRIED, PURÉED, SAUTÉED, OR GRATINÉED.    MY MAIN COURSE WAS PAN-ROASTED CHICKEN, SO I THOUGHT A RICH SIDE DISH WAS A GOOD BET.  THE BEST POTATO GRATIN I KNOW IS JOEL ROBUCHON'S, SO I ADAPTED HIS RECIPE TO MY BROBDIGNAGIAN CAULIFLOWER.   THE RICH SAUCE OF HEAVY CREAM, GRUYÈRE, CRÉME FRAÎCHE, AND PARMESAN ENVELOPED THE SWEET AND CRUNCHY STEAMED CAULIFLOWER.  MY GUESTS SEEMED TO APPROVE.  NOTHING WAS LEFT.

 1 LARGE CAULIFLOWER
 2 cups HEAVY CREAM
 ½ cup CRÉME FRAÎCHE
 2 cups GRATED GRUYÈRE OR SWISS CHEESE
 1 cup PARMESAN CHEESE
 1 GARLIC CLOVE
 FRESH CHIVES

1

PRE-HEAT OVEN TO 450º

TRIM LEAVES FROM THE CAULIFLOWER. TRIM AN INCH OFF THE STEM. CUT OFF THE FLOWERETS. SLICE THE LARGE ONES AND THE STEM INTO 1/2 THICK PIECES.

PLACE IN A STEAMER, COVER AND STEAM FOR 6 TO 8 MINUTES OR UNTIL THE THE PIECES ARE A LITTLE UNDERDONE.

USING A SMALL PIECE OF WAXED PAPER, BUTTER THE INSIDE OF AN AU GRATIN DISH. CUT THE GARLIC CLOVE IN HALF. SCATTER SOME SALT INSIDE THE DISH AND RUB THE GARLIC INSIDE THE PAN.

USING THE LARGEST HOLES ON A BOX GRATER, GRATE THE GRUYÈRE. FINELY GRATE THE PARMESAN.

COMBINE THE CREAM AND CRÉME FRAÎCHE TOGETHER IN A BOWL. STIR IN THE CHEESES.

ARRANGE HALF THE STEAMED CAULIFLOWER IN THE AU GRATIN DISH. USING A SPOON OR YOUR FINGERS, SPREAD HALF THE CHEESE MIXTURE OVER THE CAULIFLOWER. LAYER THE REST OF THE CAULIFLOWER ON TOP, THEN THE REMAINING CHEESE MIXTURE. SALT AND PEPPER.

PLACE THE AU GRATIN DISH IN THE TOP THIRD OF THE OVEN. COOK FOR ABOUT 20 MINUTES OR UNTIL THE CAULIFLOWER IS BROWNED ON TOP.

SCATTER WITH FRESHLY CHOPPED CHIVES AND SERVE.

SERVES 6

Ingredients

 1 LARGE CAULIFLOWER
 2 cups HEAVY CREAM
 ½ cup CRÉME FRAÎCHE
 2 cups GRATED GRUYÈRE OR SWISS CHEESE
 1 cup PARMESAN CHEESE
 1 GARLIC CLOVE
 FRESH CHIVES

Directions

1

PRE-HEAT OVEN TO 450º

TRIM LEAVES FROM THE CAULIFLOWER. TRIM AN INCH OFF THE STEM. CUT OFF THE FLOWERETS. SLICE THE LARGE ONES AND THE STEM INTO 1/2 THICK PIECES.

PLACE IN A STEAMER, COVER AND STEAM FOR 6 TO 8 MINUTES OR UNTIL THE THE PIECES ARE A LITTLE UNDERDONE.

USING A SMALL PIECE OF WAXED PAPER, BUTTER THE INSIDE OF AN AU GRATIN DISH. CUT THE GARLIC CLOVE IN HALF. SCATTER SOME SALT INSIDE THE DISH AND RUB THE GARLIC INSIDE THE PAN.

USING THE LARGEST HOLES ON A BOX GRATER, GRATE THE GRUYÈRE. FINELY GRATE THE PARMESAN.

COMBINE THE CREAM AND CRÉME FRAÎCHE TOGETHER IN A BOWL. STIR IN THE CHEESES.

ARRANGE HALF THE STEAMED CAULIFLOWER IN THE AU GRATIN DISH. USING A SPOON OR YOUR FINGERS, SPREAD HALF THE CHEESE MIXTURE OVER THE CAULIFLOWER. LAYER THE REST OF THE CAULIFLOWER ON TOP, THEN THE REMAINING CHEESE MIXTURE. SALT AND PEPPER.

PLACE THE AU GRATIN DISH IN THE TOP THIRD OF THE OVEN. COOK FOR ABOUT 20 MINUTES OR UNTIL THE CAULIFLOWER IS BROWNED ON TOP.

SCATTER WITH FRESHLY CHOPPED CHIVES AND SERVE.

SERVES 6

CAULIFLOWER GRATIN
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