Serves: Makes 4 servings
- 1½ teaspoons unsalted butter, softened, plus 1 tablespoon
- 1 (1½- to 2-pound) head cauliflower, cut into 1- to 2-inch florets (6 to 8 cups)
- 2 teaspoons salt
- Béchamel Sauce:
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1½ cups whole milk
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh chives
- 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 8 ounces uncooked frozen peeled small or medium shrimp, thawed
- ½ cup frozen peas, thawed
- 2 slices prosciutto or other ham, fat trimmed and slivered
- ½ cup fresh bread crumbs
- 3 tablespoons grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Procedures:In this pretty gratin, cauliflower florets are blanketed with a thick béchamel and flavored with shrimp and slivers of prosciutto. The buttered bread crumbs and grated Parmigiano-Reggiano give the top both a golden glow and a crunchy texture, and the contrast of the soft cooked interior and the crisp topping is irresistible. Serve as a side dish with roasted fish, or as a light main dish, baking it in individual gratins and accompanying it with a green salad.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Rub the 1½ teaspoons butter over the bottom and sides of a 12-inch oval gratin or 1½-quart shallow baking dish.
- Half fill a 6-quart Dutch oven with water and bring to a boil. Add the cauliflower and salt and boil, uncovered, for 3 minutes, or until barely tender. Drain in a colander and set aside.
- Make the béchamel sauce: In a 1½- to 2-quart saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Add the flour, stir with a flat whisk until mixture is smooth, and then continue to cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Gradually add the milk and cream while whisking constantly until smooth. Continue cooking, whisking gently, for 5 minutes, or until the sauce boils and thickens. Add the chives, lemon zest, salt, and pepper.
- Spread the cauliflower in the prepared gratin. Sprinkle with the shrimp, peas, and prosciutto. Pour the béchamel sauce evenly over the top.
- Melt the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter in a 10-inch skillet and remove from the heat. Add the bread crumbs and cheese to the butter and toss to coat. Sprinkle the crumbs evenly on the top of the gratin.
- Bake for 35 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbling and the top is golden.
- Let the gratin rest for 10 minutes before serving. Serve with a large spoon.