This is one of those very single-minded meals that you can eat any time, with anyone. An average-sized cauliflower will serve two people as a meal and four as a side dish.
Feeds 2 to 4. Takes 1 hour.
1 whole cauliflower, about 1kg
FOR THE SAUCE:
1tbsp plain flour
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1tbsp Dijon mustard
3tbsp grated gruyère or parmesan cheese
Heat the oven to 180C/Gas mark 4. Trim the base stem so that the cauliflower will stand upright and make a few small slashes in the thickest part of the stalk.
Cook in a large pot of simmering, salted water, or in a steamer, for around 20 minutes, or until the stalk is just tender, then drain well and keep warm.
To make the sauce: in a small saucepan, melt the butter until foaming. Sprinkle with the flour and stir constantly with a wooden spoon. Reduce the heat and cook for two minutes without browning, then add the milk gradually, stirring constantly. Add the salt, pepper, nutmeg, mustard and two tablespoons of the cheese, and cook gently for five minutes or until the cheese has melted through the sauce. Add a little extra milk if necessary to achieve a pouring consistency.
Drain the cauliflower again and place in a lightly buttered baking dish. Pour the sauce over the top, and bake for 20 to 30 minutes until golden. Remove from the oven, sprinkle with paprika and a little extra grated cheese, and serve at the table
Recipes and links to cookery sites and on-line cookbooks.
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