We wanted a unique and warming vegetable side dish to go with our Easter dinner. This was the perfect choice - rich, creamy, and if you looked closely enough, there was enough vegetable in there to make it healthy. The key to this is roasting some of the cauliflower, pureeing the rest, and topping it with Bechamel sauce and Gruyere before baking. We got half of this recipe from Guy Fieri's Roasted cauliflower, and the other half from an au gratin recipe on www.bigoven.com. Yum!
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups milk, scalded
- 1/4 t salt (for milk)
- 1 bay leaf
- salt and ground white pepper
- a pinch of nutmeg
- Head of cauliflower
- olive oil
- 2 cups millk
- 1/2 T unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup grated Gruyere Cheese
1. To make the bechamel sauce, melt butter over medium-low heat.
2. When it starts to foam, add flour and mix using a wooden spoon to create a smooth, loose paste. Cook, stirring constantly, allowing butter and flour to froth together until the mixture turns a light, golden color, about 5 minutes. Remove pan from heat and let stand.
3. Combine milk and 1/4 t salt in medium saucepan, scald milk, getting it just below boiling point.
4. Return saucepan with roux to medium-low heat. Add half the hot milk to the roux, whisking to thoroughly blend and prevent lumps. Bring to a boil.
5. When a boil is reached, add the remaining milk and bay leaf, reduce heat to low and simmer until the sauce is smooth and thickened, about 10-12 minutes.
6. Strain sauce through strainer and season with salt, white pepper, and nutmeg. Set aside.
1. To make the Au Gratin, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread 1/4 of the cauliflower florets with olive oil, season with salt and bake until caramelized, about 25 minutes. Take out the cauliflower and raise the temperature to 375.
2. Meanwhile, combine remaining florets, milk, and salt in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
3. Bring mixture to a simmer, cover, and cook until cauliflower is tender, about 20-25 minutes.
4. Strain cauliflower from milk mixture, reserving both.
5. Transfer boiled cauliflower to a blender. Add butter and season with salt. Add half of the reserved milk liquid. Puree until smooth. Season, to taste.
6. Pour pureed cauliflower into a baking dish, and place roasted cauliflower on top. Pour in just enough bechamel sauce to cover and top with grated Gruyere. Bake at 375 for 30-35 minutes until golden and bubbly.