Thursday, October 08, 2009

Cauliflower gratin

Fresh cauliflower is one of the treats of fall. It can be used as a substitute for mashed potatoes - a purée delicious to follow fried meat or poultry, or as a meal in itself. A delicious cauliflower gratin is a filling and appetizing dish.

As usual I made my dish with no exact measurements, but the whole idea is to make a béchamel sauce from the stock used to boil the cauliflower and add milk - or even better - double cream. Add cheese to the sauce, and this mild dish may take stronger varieties as cheddar and even blue cheese.

Take the béchamel off the burner and add 3-4 beaten eggs. In order to make a genuine gratin, you are supposed to separate egg whites and yolks. Beat the egg whites until stiff. First add the lightly beaten egg yolks then gently fold in the whites for extra lightness.

I cheated as I did not separate the eggs, but beat them and added them to my béchamel.

I had boiled the cauliflower bouquets in a good stock and allowed them to cool. I placed them in a baking tray. I finely chopped a French salami that had passed its best-before date, and sprinkled on top and then poured the white sauce over and added more cheese on top for taste and colour.

I placed the baking tray in a hot oven (200C / 400F) and baked the gratin for 35-40 minutes until the gratin was lightly brown and hot.

Delicious with garlic bread and a good salad.

Other related recipes:

Cauliflower purée - a good alternative to mashed potatoes

A comfort soup: Asparagus and broccoli soup with German Bratwurst

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