Have you ever gotten so caught up with cooking and baking both new and old recipes that sometimes you forget to blog about it? I am pretty sure that my fellow blogger readers can relate to this. It happens to me frequently! Probably more frequently than it should. I would try new recipes and find great ones–and make them a few more times before I get to even blog about it and share with the rest of the world! The good thing about that is that I get to try it several times before my readers know, so if it flops the second or third time around, I’d probably skip blogging about it all together. But if it continues to impress me, then you will know that the recipe is true and tried.
This dish was one of them. I wanted to add a new vegetable dish for our holiday dinner; and wasn’t sure what to make. And then I had my Barefoot in Paris cookbook laying on the floor, so I flipped through it, and saw this dish. It’s really simple to make, and can be prepared ahead of time, which is a huge bonus for entertaining and great time saver during the holidays. You can prepare everything except the topping, and refrigerate them just until you are ready to bake them. As you heat up the oven, prep the topping and sprinkle them just before putting it into the oven. It is a very rich dish so if you’re looking for something “light”, this isn’t it. However, it is flexible, so you can substitute a couple of the cheeses listed below with other types as well although it may not be as authentic as what the recipe intended.
I added bacon bits in mine for the second time I made them, and it was a hit. I preferred mine piping hot from the oven, and slightly warm so I could still enjoy the goey cheese melting ! Happy cooking!
Adapted from Barefoot in Paris
1 (3-pound) head cauliflower, cut into large florets
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, divided
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups hot milk
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
3/4 cup freshly grated Gruyere, divided
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1/4 cup fresh bread crumbs
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Cook the cauliflower florets in a large pot of boiling salted water for 5 to 6 minutes, until tender but still firm. Drain.
Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. Add the flour, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon for 2 minutes. Pour the hot milk into the butter-flour mixture and stir until it comes to a boil. Boil, whisking constantly, for 1 minute, or until thickened. Off the heat, add 1 teaspoon of salt, the pepper, nutmeg, 1/2 cup of the Gruyere, and the Parmesan.
Pour 1/3 of the sauce on the bottom of an 8 by 11 by 2-inch baking dish. Place the drained cauliflower on top and then spread the rest of the sauce evenly on top. Combine the bread crumbs with the remaining 1/4 cup of Gruyere and sprinkle on top. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and drizzle over the gratin. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the top is browned. Serve hot or at room temperature.
Yield: 4-6 servings