Creamy. Cheesy. Spicy. And oh so comforting! This Cauliflower Gratin has it all. It’s a wonderful, easy side dish that I have been making for years and is a great introduction to my love for all things cauliflower.
Yes, I’ve talked about my deep love of Brussels sprouts in my Blue Cheese Brussels Sprouts Salad and my new love for Delicata Squash in my Roasted Delicata Squash with Pecans and Thyme recipe as well as my love for many other vegetables. And now I’m all about cauliflower. 🙂 But that’s because I love them all! I really do. That’s why I’ve dedicated much of this blog to seasonal produce and farmer’s markets, and I’m happy to share my love of them with all of you.
Cauliflower is great this time of year and is one the vegetables I can find at my winter farmer’s market. We just started up a winter market here a few years ago and it’s really great to have that resource, both for local vegetables and for the other vendors who sell cheese or bread or wine and so on. This year I’m hoping to check out some of the other winter markets in the area to see what they have and try something new. And, if I can get to them before Christmas, they will also be a great way to snag handcrafted gifts since that’s when all those vendors are at the farmer’s markets. Double bonus!
The other night, when we had this for dinner, I went vegetarian and paired with my Green Bean Salad with Goat Cheese and Almonds. Great combo! On one side we had warm and creamy cauliflower with a crispy topping and, on the other, a cool and vinegary salad. I used feta instead of goat cheese, since that’s what I had in the house, and those little French green beans I can find in my supermarket these days. (And, yes, I pulled up the recipe from my blog. I hope y’all enjoy cooking from my blog because I do all the time. 🙂 )
And the parsley for the gratin came right from outside my door! Parsley is an excellent herb to grow since it’s so hardy. Just make sure you give it enough water! You can start it early in the spring and it will keep on going right through a few hard frosts.
- 1 head cauliflower (~2 lb), cut into bite sized florets
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp + 2 tsp flour
- 1½ cup milk
- 4 oz cheese, shredded, such as Havarti, Fontina, or Muenster
- 1 oz Parmesan cheese, grated
- 3 tbsp horseradish
- salt and pepper
- 1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
- 2 tbsp butter, melted
- 2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
- Preheat oven to 375F.
- Steam cauliflower until tender, about 7 minutes. Blot the cauliflower with a towel to remove any excess liquid and transfer it to a large bowl.
- While cauliflower is steaming, begin making cheese sauce. In a large skillet or saucier, melt the butter over medium heat. Add a little salt and saute the garlic for 30 seconds. Add 2 tbsp of flour and whisk with a flat whisk for 1-2 minutes. Pour in milk, increase heat to medium high, and bring to a simmer, whisking frequently and let thicken, about 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the hot burner before adding the cheese. Now mix the shredded cheese with the remaining 2 tsp of flour and add it by handfuls, whisking constantly, until all the cheese is added and the sauce is smooth. Add parmesan and horseradish, taste the sauce, and add salt and pepper as needed.
- Mix the fresh breadcrumbs with the melted butter and parsley. (If you like a very crispy topping, give the breadcrumbs mixture a saute over medium heat for 4-5 minutes.)
- To assemble the casserole, pour the cheese sauce over the cauliflower and mix well. Pour the cauliflower into a casserole dish, 9x13 or equivalent. Top with breadcrumbs.
- Bake the gratin for 20 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the topping is golden brown.