Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Cauliflower Gratin

Cauliflower Gratin

You're unlikely to find any recipes for roasted turkey on this blog for one reason: The Thanksgiving turkey? Eh. I can take it or leave it. In my eyes it's the side dishes that reign supreme on Thanksgiving. Stuffing! Rolls! Casseroles! Puddings! Potatoes! Those are the dishes that Thanksgiving is made of. And you can add one more to that list this year: Cauliflower Gratin. Oh, my.

This is not a dish that punches you in the face with flavor; it's creamy and smooth and it's meant to sit beside brighter foods. You start out the meal with cranberry sauce and you end with a rich, cheesy gratin. One wakes you up and the other puts you to sleep (all the better to move you toward the ultimate Thanksgiving afternoon - football and naptime.)

Cauliflower Gratin
Adapted from Ina Gartin
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Ingredients
1 large bag frozen cauliflower florets
Kosher salt for boiling water
4 tablespoons butter, divided
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups whole milk (heated in microwave)
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper (white is preferable)
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1 cup freshly grated parmesan
1/4 cup fresh bread crumbs

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Cook the cauliflower florets in a large pot of boiling salted water for 5 to 6 minutes, until tender but still firm. Drain.
3. Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. Add the flour, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon for 2 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high. Slowly pour the hot milk into the butter-flour mixture and stir until it comes to a boil. Boil for 1 minute, or until thickened. Remove from heat and add salt, pepper, nutmeg and half the parmesan.
4. Pour 1/3 of the sauce on the bottom of a shallow, greased baking dish. Place the drained cauliflower on top and then spread the rest of the sauce evenly over cauliflower. Combine the bread crumbs with the remaining cheese and sprinkle on top. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and drizzle over the gratin.
5. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the top is browned.