Color can add visual interest and catch attention. Think of old black and white photos. When an element in one is colorized it makes that part of the photograph stand out. A colorful painting does wonders for a blank wall. Color also contributes to the aesthetics of food. One of the tricks for food photography is to add a garnish. Green parsley or red pepper bits on the top of a bowl of beige soup make it more visually appealing. Unexpected color is a bonus as orange and purple did for this cauliflower gratin.
The most common cauliflower is white. Cook it with a white cheese sauce and you have a delicious although bland looking side dish. Use colored cauliflower and suddenly it takes on a whole new look. Kids may be tempted to eat it once they see a fun color. The taste is the same as white cauliflower. There are extra nutrients such beta carotene in the orange variety and anthocyanin (an anti-oxidant) in the purple variety.
Cauliflower gratin is an easily prepared side dish. The most difficult part is stirring the sauce. Or it could be waiting for when it is ready to eat. The sauce is basic white sauce, a.k.a. béchamel, with white sharp cheddar cheese added. The gratin has a crunchy, crispy topping of panko bread crumbs and parmesan. Double cheese = yes please! Each bite has the nutty flavor of cauliflower wrapped in creamy, cheesy sauce with a crunch from the topping.
- 1 3- pound head of cauliflower
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups milk whole recommended
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon ground or grated nutmeg
- 1 cup freshly grated white sharp cheddar cheese
- 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
- 1/4 grated parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lighly coat a 2-quart baking dish with cooking spray.
Cut the cauliflower into florets. Steam until slightly tender, about 5 to 6 minutes.
Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
Slowly pour in milk while stirring constantly. Continue stirring until it comes to a boil.
Add salt, pepper, nutmeg and cheese. Stir until cheese has melted and remove from heat.
Coat the bottom of the pan with a thin layer of sauce. Arrange florets on top.
Pour the remaining sauce evenly over florets.
Stir together bread crumbs, parmesan, and olive oil. Sprinkle on top.
Bake for 25 minutes, or until top is lightly browned.
A recipe for a creamy and cheesy cauliflower gratin with a crispy topping. It is made with fresh cauliflower and a sharp cheddar cheese white sauce.
Disclosure: I received a variety of cauliflower from Frieda’s at no charge. I was under no obligation to post a review. All opinions are my own unless otherwise stated or contained within a guest post.