Gratin is the term used for any dish that is topped with a browned crust, usually using breadcrumbs or grated cheese. You can make a gratin using just about any vegetable – potatoes, zucchinis, spinach are a few popular examples. This cauliflower gratin is one of my favourites and makes a wonderful winter side dish. It’s creamy and cheesy and goes well with any roast meat. I served it with this corned beef and it was the perfect accompaniment, eliminating the need for the traditional white sauce. You could also make the cauliflower florets smaller and add some cooked pasta for a delicious pasta bake.
Ingredients – Serves 2-3
1 small head of cauliflower
1/4 cup plain flour
2 cups milk
1 cup grated Gruyere cheese
1 cup grated cheddar
1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
Wash the cauliflower, remove the core and cut into medium sized florets – not too small as you don’t want them to become mushy. Bring a saucepan of salted water to the boil, add the cauliflower and cook for about 5 minutes or until the cauliflower is just cooked through. Drain carefully as the cauliflower will be quite tender and delicate, and put to the side. In the same saucepan heat the butter over medium heat until melted. Add the flour and cook stirring the flour for a few minutes. Add the milk and cook whisking all the time until the mixture comes to a boil. Reduce the heat and let it simmer for a few minutes until slightly thickened. You want the sauce to be the consistency of custard.. Take it off the heat and add three quarters of the Gruyere and cheddar. Stir until the cheese is melted and season with salt and pepper.
Preheat the oven to 200C. Choose a small shallow sided baking dish that will hold the cauliflower snugly in one layer and add a little of the cheese sauce to the bottom of the dish. Place the cauliflower florets on top of the cheese and spoon the remaining sauce over the cauliflower, making sure that all the cauliflower is well coated. In a small bowl combine the remaining cheese and the breadcrumbs. Top the gratin with the bread and cheese mixture and bake in the oven for about 20 minutes or until the top is golden brown and bubbling.