Colorful Cauliflower – Cauliflower Gratin

Cauliflower Gratin

This summer the CSA gave us several orange cauliflowers and I’d never seen them before.  I loved them.  One, they were beautiful.  Two, they were tasty!  Sweeter, less bitter and just pretty to look at.  It could have been because they were organic that I liked them so much, I’m not sure.  Then this winter I saw them at the local grocery store.  I’d never seen them there before and haven’t seen them since.  I don’t have to tell you that I snatched a few heads right up.  I wish I’d had the forethought to get both a white and an orange cauliflower at the same time to test them side by side for taste and any other differences.  You can bet that I’ll do it next time.  In any event, it’s perfectly fine to use the more available white cauliflower for this recipe; the orange ones were just what inspired it.

1 head cauliflower, chopped into bite sized pieces
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 cup milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 garlic clove
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 350º.  Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil.  Place all of the cauliflower into the pot and cook for 2 minutes or until the water boils again, which ever comes first.  Pour into a strainer.

In a medium saucepan, heat the butter over medium-high heat.  Add the flour and whisk well.  Cook for 1-2 minutes.  Add the milk, cream, garlic, salt and nutmeg bring to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer and simmer for 3-4 minutes.  Place the cauliflower in a 9 x 13 casserole dish.  Pour the milk and cream sauce over the cauliflower.  Melt 3 tablespoons of butter and combine it with the breadcrumbs.  Sprinkle over top of the cauliflower and bake for 20 minutes or until the sides are bubbling and the top is golden brown.

Serves 6-8