Serves: Makes 8 (4-ounce) servings
- 1 medium (2-pound) head cauliflower, trimmed and broken into small florets
- 24 cherry tomatoes (about 10 ounces), each quartered
- 1 cup grated Cheddar cheese (medium and/or sharp)
- ½ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
- White Sauce:
- ½ cup unsalted butter
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- ¼ teaspoon freshly grated or ground nutmeg
- Salt and freshly ground white pepper
- Bread Crumb Topping:
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, pressed or minced
- ½ cup seasoned dried bread crumbs
- ½ cup panko bread crumbs
Procedures:Cauliflower is more versatile than you might think; this gratin is just one of many ways I prepare cauliflower. I like to bake and serve the gratin in individual gratin dishes (I have a 4-inch round size, like you’d use for crème brûlée, which is perfect). But you can also make it in a large gratin dish and simply scoop onto individual plates to serve. I use a blend of medium and sharp Cheddar cheese, but you can use just one or the other, to suit your taste.
- Preheat the oven to 425°F.
- Bring 2 to 3 inches of water to a boil in the bottom of a steamer. Add the cauliflower florets to the steamer rack and set the rack above the water. Cover and steam the cauliflower for 5 to 7 minutes, until tender. Set aside to cool.
- For the white sauce, melt ¼ cup of the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cut the remaining butter into pieces and set aside. Add the flour to the melted butter and whisk to evenly blend. Cook, whisking, for 2 minutes. Slowly whisk in the milk, followed by the broth. Continue to cook, whisking often, for about 5 minutes, until the sauce is thickened. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the remaining butter with the nutmeg. Season to taste with salt and pepper; set aside.
- For the bread crumb topping, melt the butter with the olive oil in small skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for about 15 seconds. Add both bread crumbs and cook, stirring often, for 3 to 5 minutes, until lightly browned. Transfer the crumb mixture to a bowl or plate and set aside.
- Choose a 12-inch oval gratin dish, an 8 by 10-inch baking dish, or eight 4-inch individual gratin dishes. Arrange the cauliflower florets in the dish(es) and scatter the tomatoes over and around. Spoon the white sauce evenly over the vegetables and top with the Cheddar cheese, followed by the bread crumb topping, and finally the Parmesan cheese. Season with pepper.
- Bake for 15 minutes, until browned and bubbly (a few minutes less for individual dishes). Carefully transfer individual dishes to small plates for serving, or scoop the gratin from the larger dish onto individual plates.