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Cauliflower Gratin

Serves: Makes 6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 cauliflower (about 1½ pounds), cleaned of any green leaves
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1½ cups milk
  • ¾ cup heavy cream
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
  • ⅛ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • ½ cup grated Gruyère or Emmenthaler cheese
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese


Procedures:

Made with a béchamel sauce and finished with cheese, this cauliflower dish is one I remember well from my childhood.

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Trim the green leaves and cut out the core from the cauliflower; separate it into florets. Drop the florets into a large stainless steel saucepan of boiling salted water, bring back to a boil, and cook, uncovered, for about 5 minutes; they will be crunchy. Drain and set aside.

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Add the flour and cook over low heat for about 1 minute, stirring with a whisk; do not let the mixture brown. Add the milk and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly to prevent scorching, then simmer over low heat for 1 minute. Add the cream, salt, white pepper, and nutmeg and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat.

Generously butter a gratin dish. Put the florets in the dish stem side down and coat with the béchamel. Sprinkle with the cheese. Place on a baking sheet and bake for about 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve.

by Jacques Pépin, Poulets & Légumes

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