Saturday, August 4, 2012

Cauliflower Gratin

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...I first saw this recipe in Leite's Culinaria shortly after Dorie Greenspan's book, Around My French Table, was published. I printed off the recipe but did nothing with it until the purchase and perusal of her book again brought it to mind. August marks a flood of broccoli and cauliflower in local markets and the need to use cauliflower that had been purchased moved this recipe center stage. This gratin is very easy to make, and it is quite good. My only problem is that I think this creamy, almost quiche-like, creation is too rich to be served as a side dish. That makes me a party of one, because most other reviewers think it is a perfect accompaniment to any type of roast meat. While I would not serve it as part of a dinner, I do think this rich gratin is perfect for lunch or a light supper. The dish is best served warm and eaten on the day it is made. While it can be re-heated, the gratin becomes more strongly flavored the longer it sits and the leftovers might be a hard sell. If you are looking for new ways to serve cauliflower, I urge you to give this recipe a try. I think you'll really enjoy the gratin. Here's how it is made.

Cauliflower Gratin...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Dorie Greenspan

Butter for the baking dish
1 cauliflower (a medium head, about 2 1/2 pounds or so)
1/4 pound bacon, cut crosswise into slender strips
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
5 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup heavy cream
2/3 cup whole milk
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Freshly grated nutmeg
3 ounces Gruyère (you can use Emmenthal or even Swiss in a pinch), grated

1) Adjust oven rack to center position and preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Generously butter a 9 x 13-inch ovenproof dish and place it on a rimmed baking sheet lined with a Silpat or parchment paper.
2) Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cut florets from cauliflower, leaving about an inch or so of stem. Drop florets into boiling water and cook until fork-tender, anywhere from 4 to 10 minutes, depending on the size of the florets. (Alternatively, you can steam the florets over salted water.) Drain and rinse cauliflower florets under cold running water to cool them and pat them completely dry.
3) While cauliflower is cooking, toss bacon strips into a heavy skillet, place skillet over medium heat, and cook just until bacon is browned but not crisp. Drain and pat dry.
4) Spread cauliflower in buttered pan and scatter bacon over surface.
5) Place flour in a bowl and gradually whisk in eggs until blended. Slowly whisk in cream and milk. Season mixture with salt, pepper, and nutmeg and stir in about 2/3 of cheese. Pour mixture over cauliflower and bacon, shaking pan a little so that liquid settles between florets. Scatter remaining cheese over the top.
6) Bake cauliflower-bacon gratin for about 25 minutes, or until puffed and golden and a knife inserted in center comes out clean. If top isn’t as brown as you’d like, run gratin under the broiler for a couple of minutes.
7) Gratin is best just from oven or when warm, although it can be enjoyed at room temperature, just like a quiche. You really should eat cauliflower-bacon gratin freshly made, but if you’ve got leftovers, cover and refrigerate them, then let them come to room temperature or warm briefly and gently in oven. Yield: 10 small servings.

One Year Ago Today: Peanut Butter and Jelly Cake

Two Years Ago Today: Refrigerator Dill Pickles

Three Years Ago Today: Rhubarb and Red Berry Pie


Hovkonditorn said...

I like cauliflower gratin, but make it very seldom! I have to change that! Have a great day!

SnoWhite said...

What a great idea! This looks delicious.

Lyndsey Chapin said...

Oh I needed this recipe yesterday! I just ended up roasting the cauliflower, but this looks so good!

Merisi in Vienna said...

Alright, you convinced me, I am coming to dinner!
Today, tomorrow, each and every day. I promise to clean up the kitchen afterwards.

A wonderful weekend to you,

Poornima Nair said...

That looks delicious!

Karen June Miller said...

This looks delish! thanks for sharing!!!


Angie's Recipes said...

Comforting and tasty. I had some roasted cauliflowers yesterday...gotta try the gratin next time.
Have a wonderful weekend!

manu said...

This recipe is so easy and looks delicious!
Have a nice week end

Red Nomad OZ said...

When we hit the road, we plant cauliflower and broccoli in our home garden, hoping like hell they'll actually grow without any attention whatsoever!!

If we're in luck, I'll get to try this sensational looking dish on our return - but like you, I won't be serving it as an accompaniment!

Foodycat said...

That's the most amazing-looking cauliflower cheese! I agree with you though - a bit of bread and a salad and that is a meal!

Costanza Saglio said...

Yummy! I'll try this recipe for sure!!

ps: I'm having a little contest on my blog: if you send me a picture of an old travel of yours, telling me what it can evoke you now, I'll publish it with your name and blog link, you'll remember something nice and maybe it'll be the cover picture of my Facebook page! It just a funny way to remember your past and promote your blog! Send it to not later than August 12th! I'm waiting for you!

Susan Lindquist said...

Has the first cauliflower been just beautiful? I love a gratin ... and am one of thse who treats it as a side with a roast ... but with a light plate of greens, I can see what you mean aboout treating it as a lunch or easy supper! Great idea!

Kim Garceau said...

I've bought some big big cauliflower yesterday and this gratin looks really good... I'll serve it for lunch with a greens salad!

Anonymous said...

could i use frozen cauliflower?

ImSoVintage said...

I love cauliflower and this recipe sounds perfect for a summer dinner with salad. Hope you have a wonderful weekend, Mary.

Tanna at The Brick Street Bungalow said...

Oh, my goodness!! This sounds delicious. I love cauliflower... and this is a ramped-up version!! Thank you, Mary. blessings ~ tanna

Kath said...

I'm with you, Mary! I think this looks like a fabulous main dish. I'd be perfectly happy with Cauliflower Gratin and a salad.

Ellen B Cookery said...

What a lovely and interesting way to cook cauliflower! Timing is perfect!

Barbara F. said...

This looks so yummy. I definitely could have this as an entree. xo

Food, Fun and Life in the Charente said...

Thanks for the reminder that I love cauliflower cheese. Your recipe sounds much better than mine, I am now off to find a cauliflower :) Have a fantastic weekend. Diane

Jenn Kendall said...

now that is a delicious sounding cauliflower dish! yum!

Rebecca Subbiah said...

oh this is fab I really need to use cauliflower more

Lilli said...

Hi Mary!! you are so good on cooking!!! would love to try this dish!! kisses and have a nice weekend dear!:*


I made cauliflower and broccoli gratin together and when my son reached for a serving he said he is thinking twice weather it is still "healthy" haha. But he ate it just the same. You definitely can't resist a creamy gratin when you have it infront of you!
Happy Weekend,

David said...

Mary, This cauliflower gratin sounds and looks great! Simple and satisfying comfort food and another way to eat some veggies. Thanks for the recipe! Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Veronica Miller said...

Now that is some sexy cauliflower! lol! This sounds sooo fantastic.

Mary said...

Anonymous, do not use frozen cauliflower. The texture of the gratin will be different and the gratin, itself, soggy. Have a great day. Blessings...Mary

Leite's Culinaria said...

Many thanks for the kind mention of Leite's Culinaria! That Dorie certainly knows her recipes....

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