Cauliflower Gratin

Episode 104: Veg-In!
Recipe: Cauliflower Gratin

Made with a béchamel sauce and finished with cheese, this cauliflower dish is one I remember well from my childhood.

Cauliflower Gratin

Serves 6

1 firm white cauliflower (about 1 1/2 pounds)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups milk
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/2 cup grated Gruyère or Emmenthaler cheese
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Remove the green leaves from the cauliflower, cut out the core, and separate cauliflower into florets. Drop the florets into a large stainless steel saucepan of boiling salted water, bring back to a boil, and cook, uncovered, for about 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Add the flour and cook over low heat for about 1 minute, stirring with a whisk; do not let the mixture brown. Add the milk and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly to prevent scorching, then simmer over low heat for 1 minute. Add the cream, salt, white pepper, and nutmeg and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat.

Generously butter a gratin dish. Put the florets in the dish stem side down and coat with the white béchamel. Sprinkle with the cheeses. Place on a cookie sheet and bake for about 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve.

Copyright © 2011 by Jacques Pépin. Used by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.

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  • Lisa Newton

    Love it! Thanks for sharing!

  • Ken mac Donald

    I have enjoyed your cooking for years and have a number of your cook books your passion for cooking always has inspired me I would like to send you a good book and have you sign it for me I would be my number one book in my cook book collection
    Thank you Ken mac donald

  • Sajavdc

    love you Jaques! I wanted to tell you that I made the Eggs and Potatoes which you taught us last monday on wliw. It was the best flavored thing we have tried in along time. Keep going, we learn from you! Today, making the cauliflower Gratin. thank you sally vanderclock

  • nickgsc

    just want to you to know that i tried this (with some low-fat modifications and it is truly amazing dish…thanks, i have learned much from you.

  • http://www.facebook.com/irishgrlk Kay Ryan

    I’m shocked that some folks want to make this “low fat.” “Low fat” is an utter myth based on flawed studies from the 50′s. There is no scientific foundation for the idea that “low fat” equals “healthy.” Healthy fats (milk, butter, cream) from organically raised milk cows are good for you. In the pre-heart attack era, folks cooked with lard and ate many good fats — but they never ate industrially processed vegetable oils made from GMO grains, that’s for sure. Many cultures all over the world eat high fats without suffering from cardiovascular disease. It’s when they add grains and processed foods and sugars and chemicals to their diets that they begin to suffer “modern” diseases.

    I say, use the 3/4 heavy cream (organic, not from factory-farm cows injected with bovine growth hormone) and whole milk to make this dish as it is meant to be made and eaten. Good grief.

    • inan

      Please, people can make it however they wish to make it. In the end, they are the ones eating it, not you, so stop with the attitude. I only mentioned the 1/4 c cream because that is how I saw it on tv.

    • Tantien

      A agree with Katydid about the qualities of this dish and what ingredients it should be made with. Low fat is a bad myth. Start looking at the increases in sugars and carbohydrates was the culprits for high cholesterol and triglycerides.

  • MaryClare

    Hi–I’m going to make this on Christmas Eve, but then I’ll be taking it to a relatives. What is the best way to handle reheating so as to not end up with soggy cauliflower?

  • http://www.facebook.com/arleny.alvarez.pena Arleny Alvarez-Peña

    This dish was delish and will def make again!

  • Jan Okun

    You can make Bechamel sauce with just milk. I do it all the time. It will give you the same effect sans the calories. Also, why make this recipe if you want to make it low cal? Make something else less fattening. It’s that simple.