Sunday, March 27, 2011

Cauliflower Au Gratin

One of the many side dishes we love but only allowed ourselves the occasional treat is anything au gratin. Au gratin is the french style of cooking, which combines butter, cheese, cream, egg and topped with breadcrumbs, all baked to golden perfection in the oven.

Potato Au Gratin or Potato Dauphinoise, is the more famous version of the gratin cooking technique. At home, we love doing gratin using potatoes, broccoli and cauliflower. The dish is so creamy and satisfying that I have to admit, more often than not, I tend to make a meal out of it.

This dish is perfect for vegetarian and carnivore alike. Even the pickiest vegetable eater cannot help but like the creamy texture of the dish.

Cauliflower Au Gratin
1 lb cauliflower florets
1/2 tsp salt
3 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp flour
1 tsp ground mustard
2 Cups whole milk or cream
8 oz shredded Monterey Jack or Cheddar Cheese
1/2 tsp parsley
1 bay leaf
5 Tbsp of panko breadcrumbs
salt and pepper to taste

Step 1: Bring a pot of water to boil. Put in 1/2 tsp of salt into the boiling water. Add in the cauliflower florets. Cook for 5 mins and drain. Set aside and let cool.
Step 2: In a saucepan over low heat, melt the 3 Tbsp of butter. As soon as butter is all melted, add in 3 Tbsp of flour and a teaspoon of ground mustard. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add in the milk, parsley and bay leaf. Turn the heat up to medium high. Cook for 10 minutes till sauce thickens. Remove the bay leaf. Turn heat off and set the saucepan aside.

Step 3: Grate the cheese.
Step 4: Stir cheese into the sauce and mix well, leaving 1/3 of the cheese behind for toppings.

Step 5: Stir in the cauliflower.
Have a baking dish ready. Preheat oven to 350F or 176C.
Step 6: Sprinkle casserole with remaining cheese.

Step 7: Top with panko breadcrumbs. Bake for 20 mins till top is golden brown.
Serve as a main dish for vegetarian or as a side dish to a meal. Perfect with chops, roast or chicken.


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