In our family Cauliflower is like the prodigal son. When we were kids there was never a plate of broccoli that didn’t have cauliflower at its side. As the years went on, it seemed the cauliflower in our plates ran away never to return. Well, today it’s returned and it’s not sharing the stage with broccoli (this time). This is a very delicious and unconventional way to enjoy this delicious vegetable.
For us meat eaters it’s only when we decide to give our carnivorous ways a break do we realize how versatile vegetables really are. They all come with different flavors and textures and the most beautiful colors. Its only when you decide to explore them do you realize their true potential. This cauliflower dish really shows how great this often overlooked vegetable can be.
It would seem that the cauliflower can basically do anything a potato can, roasting, baking, mashing and even making a gratin. This will be the first of two cauliflower recipes I will be doing this month. What I love the most about this gratin is that it can be both a side dish or a main dish. The cauliflower is hearty and meaty especially with the addition of the mushroom sauce and cheese. This could be served with a side salad, or if you are having a protein it can be the side. It can totally replace macaroni and cheese and no one would even miss it.
Ingredients (printable recipe)
1-2 heads of Cauliflower
1 tablespoon Allspice
1 cup Cheddar cheese
1 cup mozzarella cheese
¼ cup Parmesan cheese
Pot of salted boiling water
4 tablespoon Butter
2 tablespoon Flour
2 cup milk
2 Shallots chopped
2 cups Mushrooms sliced
1 garlic clove shredded
½ teaspoon Salt
½ teaspoon Sugar
½ teaspoon Ground Allspice
¼ teaspoon Black pepper
For the sauce
- Melt butter and sauté the chopped shallots and mushrooms over height heat until tender
- Add the flour; stir the mixture for a few second without burning until all the flour is cooked out
- To that mixture add the milk, garlic, salt, sugar and ground allspice. Allow the mixture to thicken into a creamy sauce.
For the casserole
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees
- Bring a large pot of salted water to boil
- Shred the cheddar mozzarella and parmesan and mix together
- Wash dry and slice the cauliflower into thick slices
- Cook the cauliflower in the salted water just until it begins to get soft, don’t allow it to over-cook and get mushy.
- Strain the cauliflower lay them out on a sheet pan and sprinkle evenly on both sides with allspice and black pepper
- In a baking dish spoon some sauce at the bottom layer with cauliflower and spread a layer of cheeses add another layer of sauce followed by cauliflower and cheese
- Repeat the process ending until the dish is filled and end with cheese
- Bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes when the top is golden brown
- Allow to cool for 30 minutes after cooking so the layers of cheese cauliflower and sauce can set before slicing and serving
- If the cauliflower breaks apart when slicing it does not matter
- You can also substitute the dairy for vegan cheeses, butter and soy milk
- How much cauliflower you use depends on the size of your casserole dish and the size of the cauliflowers available to you. Mine was fairly large so I only needed one
- At room temperature it is very easy to slice and keeps its shape. When its fresh out the oven it will be nearly impossible to keep together.