Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Cauliflower Casserole

One of my favorite vegetables is cauliflower. Usually we roast it or mash it but the last time we made it, we tried a new recipe: Cauliflower Casserole from Cover & Bake. It's a little more time consuming than our usual cauliflower dishes but really tasty.
Blanch cauliflower. Make a sauce with cream, nutmeg, thyme, cayenne, and parmesan. Pour over blanched cauliflower, mix together, sprinkle parmesan on top, sprinkle bread crumbs on top, bake until golden brown & bubbly.
It wasn't quite as saucy as I expected, but that's probably a good thing since it's a rich, creamy sauce. The bread crumbs are a nice crunchy bit and I like the flavors from the nutmeg, cayenne, and thyme. A little more exciting than our usual salt, pepper, parmesan flavor for roasted cauliflower.
We'd definitely make this again.

Cauliflower Casserole
from Cover & Bake, adapted to suit our tastes
Serves 4 (we ate a lot of it at each meal)

1 large head (about 3 lbs) of cauliflower, cut into florets
2 tbsp butter (salted or unsalted, we use whatever is handy)
1/2 shallot, minced (could use a whole shallot)
1 tbsp flour
1.5 cups heavy cream
pinch ground nutmeg
pinch cayenne
ground black pepper
fresh/dried thyme (we used fresh)
1 cup grated parmesan
panko/bread crumbs/homemade bread crumbs

if desired:
add minced garlic clove

Blanch cauliflower. The amount of time depends on the size of your florets. They should be tender on the outside and slightly crunchy on the inside. Drain and rinse with cold water. Spread the florets out in a baking dish/on a cookie sheet to cool.

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add shallot and saute until softened. Add garlic, if desired, and cook (about 30 seconds). Stir in flour. Whisk in cream and bring to a boil. Add nutmeg, cayenne, salt & pepper, thyme, and 2/3 cup parmesan. Stir until well combined.

Place cauliflower in 13 x 9 baking dish. Pour cream mixture over cauliflower. Gently toss until cauliflower is evenly coated with sauce. Sprinkle remaining 1/3 cup parmesan over top the cauliflower. Sprinkle the bread crumb topping over the cauliflower. Bake at 450 until top is golden brown/sauce is bubbling around edges (about 10 minutes).

*The amount of salt and pepper in the sauce depends on your taste and whether you use salted or unsalted butter.
*The amount of thyme depends on your taste and whether you use fresh or dried thyme. We eyeball it.
*You can make fresh breadcrumbs or use store-bought panko/bread crumbs. We used panko. 

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