Monday, June 3, 2024

A BLOG BREAK - MONDAY MORNING RECIPE POST - CREAMY CAULIFLOWER AU GRATIN

Hello Dear Friends, it has been a while but I am taking a blog break. I hope to be back in a couple weeks.
My photos for this recipe didn’t turn out very well. At the end of the cooking time I decided to put it under the broiler to give it a nice golden brown color.  Unfortunately, I got distracted and forgot!  It wasn’t too long past what I intended but it got a bit burnt in parts, which I tried to rescue by scraping said burnt bits off the top. Fortunately it didn’t detract from the taste and was actually a delicious tasting recipe.  But!!! I must remember to ‘babysit’ next time, and not leave it to fend for itself. Even with all this being said, we gave it a 10 out of 10.

The recipe comes from Laughing Spatula hosted by Kathi and Rachel. It is an Ina Garten recipe and they increased the amount of cheese sauce and cauliflower for a bigger casserole.You can see theirs at this link. Their recipe index can be found here. Ina's recipe is at the Food Network website here. I always recommend going to the food blog where I find my recipes. Always fun to look through them for others and also to see the great photos for this one, plus the tips. Also suggestions as to what main course would go well as an accompaniment.


Creamy Cauliflower Au Gratin

Servings: 8

Calories:  268 per serving


8 cups cauliflower florets about 3 pounds

4 tablespoons butter

1/3 cup flour

3 cups milk 2 percent or whole

1 cup Gruyere cheese, grated Swiss is a great substitute

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg


For Topping:

1/2 cup panko crumbs regular bread crumbs would work too

1/3 cup Gruyere cheese, grated

1 tablespoon butter, melted


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Separate cauliflower into florets and either steam for 5 minutes or boil in large pot of water for 5 minutes, until just barely tender. Drain and set aside.

In sauce pan, melt 4 tablespoons of butter. Add 1/3 cup of flour and whisk until smooth and mixture is bubbling.

Add milk and continue to stir until thickened. Add one cup of gruyere cheese, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Stir until melted. Sauce should cover the back of a spoon.

Pour 1/3 of the sauce into an au gratin baking dish or baking dish about that same size.We used a 9 x 13 inch baking dish but a10 x 10 was suggested. If using the 9 x 13 the casserole will be a bit thinner.

Place partly cooked cauliflower on top. Sprinkle with salt.

Pour remaining sauce on top of second layer of cauliflower.

For Topping: combine melted butter, gruyere and bread crumbs in small bowl. Sprinkle on top of cauliflower.

Bake for 30 minutes or until top is crispy and cauliflower is tender.


Notes

Substitute swiss cheese or any other big flavored cheese in place of gruyere.

Do not use fat free milk. Whole milk is best.  2% in a pinch. (Denise: I always use 2% and it still tastes creamy enough for us.)

Par cook the cauliflower until just barely fork tender, careful not to over cook.


 

Some of the comments asked at the end of the recipe I found interesting. 

1) Can you use coconut milk.The answer was yes, it would thicken up just like regular milk.

2) Can you make the day before and reheat? Yes and for best results assemble, cover and refrigerate, then bake next day if possible.

3) Can you use frozen cauliflower or would that be too mushy? That answer was yes, it would be mushy, but still delicious, only with more of a mashed potato consistency.

4) One commenter's store didn't have Gruyère cheese, so they used a good quality sharp Cheddar cheese. Also they were only cooking for one so used 1/2 the measurements. She loved the recipe. (Denise’s note: the only cheese I ever used before Gruyère was Cheddar. Always delicious! I did enjoy the creamy taste of the Gruyère however.)

This is a recipe I remember making at school in my Domestic Science Class. I took it home afterwards for my family, and happy to say it was a big success. It became a regular one from then on and my dear mother was very happy as it was the start of me helping her with making dinners. She appreciated the extra hands.

Laughing Spatula's website for this recipe can be found here:

https://laughingspatula.com/creamy-cauliflower-au-gratin/


Ina Garten's recipe can be found at Food Network here:

https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/cauliflower-gratin-recipe-1917463

Blog hostess note: Would pair great with a baked ham or a roast chicken!  

Denise’s note: My protein part of the meal was already cooked and frozen lobster cakes from Trader Joe. There were two in one package, one for each of us, and at first my dear other half wasn’t too keen. I wasn’t so sure either but wanted to try one time for something special, but easy, on Memorial Day. (It was just the two of us.) However, as they were small cakes, I persuaded him to try at least one time. I was very happy when he said he enjoyed them so much, that he would definitely have them again.

An already cooked rotisserie chicken from your favorite supermarket would be a wonderful and easy addition, not to mention a faster prep time in the kitchen. In fact, for the second night’s meal, we bought one from CostCo.  We always enjoy theirs.  

I added a mixed green salad.  

Instead of using store-bought panko crumbs, I had a large-ish heel of sourdough bread left, broke it into pieces and put into a blender. I whirled it long enough to make into breadcrumbs, and followed the recipe from there.

There were leftovers for two more meals. At dinner the next day it tasted even better. We still had leftovers after the second time, smaller portions this time for a light snack.

Blog host’s final note: You want the cauliflower just slightly fork tender. Careful not to over cook so you don’t have cauliflower mush casserole. Would still taste good…just mushy.