Cauliflower Au Gratin (Chou-Fleur Gratiné)

Cauliflower is a popular vegetable in France that pairs extremely well when prepared au gratin in the oven with cheese sauce and crunchy, cheesy bread crumbs.

[Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/-lvinst-]
Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/-lvinst-

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 45 minutes, including 15 to 20 minutes to cook the cauliflower, 10 minutes to cook the cheese sauce, and 25 minutes to bake

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Cheese Sauce (see recipe below)

1 medium cauliflower, trimmed, cut into florets, and cooked until tender

2 tablespoons breadcrumbs mixed with 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons melted butter

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

  2. Spread one-third of the cheese sauce over the bottom of a 2-quart round or oval bakingdish.

    Arrange the cauliflower in the dish and spoon the remaining sauce over it. Sprinkle with the breadcrumb mixture and drizzle with the melted butter.

  3. Bake in the upper third of the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until bubbly and golden brown.

Cheese Sauce

This cheese sauce is a variation on a basic white sauce, which should be part of everyone's cooking repertoire.

Preparation time: 5 minutes

Cooking time: 10 minutes

Yield: 2 cups

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 cups whole milk

1/2 cup grated Gruyère, Parmesan, or sharp cheddar cheese

Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat. Blend in the flour and cook slowly, stirring, until the butter and flour foam without changing color, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat.

  2. Bring the milk to a boil over medium heat. Add 1⁄4 teaspoon salt. Slowly pour the hot liquid over the hot flour mixture, beating with a wire whisk until smooth.

  3. Return to the stove and cook over medium-high heat until the sauce boils. Add the cheese and stir until smooth. Cook a minute longer. Remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper.

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