~more recently updated recipes~
2006 Original Post: "Gratin" sounds much fancier than reality: cauliflower with cheese sauce. But "delicious" barely describes the cheese sauce's bright notes of horseradish and mustard. Call it OH SO GOOD: this definitely qualifies for a 'I Could Easily Make a Meal Out of This' designation.
2013 Update: I've rewritten this recipe to reflect how I make it, how I think it's best made. For example, the inspiring recipe had way too much cheese sauce, two times too much by my measure. I also think that the mixture of cauliflower and broccoli is just so pretty so that's what I recommend too. Plus a bit of texture contrast is really nice. This is a great dish for a holiday table but isn't too much for every day too. It's really important to let the horseradish come through, be sure to use enough in the cheese sauce and the topping both.
"... like the perfect home-made mac and cheese--without the starch guilt!" ~ Glenna
"It was fabulous!" ~ seashell
"Made this tonight - it was great!" ~ Anonymous
"LOVE it!" ~ Linda
RECIPE for CAULIFLOWER-BROCCOLI GRATIN with HORSERADISH
Time to table: 40 minutes
Serves about 6
CAULIFLOWER & BROCCOLI
Well-salted water to cover
1 pound cauliflower florets
1 pound broccoli crowns
Bring the water to a boil. Add the cauliflower and broccoli, cook until tender (or until a knife inserts easily into the stem) or about 15 minutes. (The broccoli may finish first, if so, lift it out with a slotted spoon.) Drain and return to the hot pan to dry a bit.
CHEESE SAUCE with HORSERADISH
1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 tablespoon flour
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon horseradish
1/2 cup skim milk, warmed in the microwave
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
Salt & pepper
Additional horseradish to taste
Melt the butter in a saucepan over MEDIUM heat. Stir in the flour and cook 1 minute. Stir in the mustard and horseradish. A tablespoon at a time to start, add the warm milk, stirring until smooth before adding another tablespoon. Bring just to a boil but do not allow to boil. Add the cheese, green onion (if using) and stir occasionally until the cheese melts, watching the temperature carefully so not to boil. Taste and adjust seasonings and horseradish.
1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/4 cup panko or dried bread crumbs or cracker crumbs
1/2 tablespoon horseradish (or more to taste)
Melt the butter in a microwave in a small bowl. Stir in the panko and horseradish.
ASSEMBLE & FINISH
Preheat oven to 450F. Gently toss the cooked cauliflower, broccoli and cheese sauce. Transfer to a lightly greased oven-proof dish. Sprinkle topping on top. Bake for 10 - 15 minutes until bubbling.
ALANNA's TIPS & KITCHEN NOTES
You could steam the vegetables too but I wanted the added tenderness/saltiness from cooking in salted water.
You could use all cauliflower but if so, will miss the color contrast so I'd suggest stirring in a couple of tablespoons of chopped green onion to the cheese sauce.
Keep tasting the cheese sauce and the crumbs, adding more horseradish to taste. The horseradish is what makes this dish special, make sure there's enough. Unfortunately, the heat of horseradish varies a lot, it'll need to be done by taste.
To make-ahead, cook the vegetables and cheese sauce ahead of time, then combine shortly before going into the oven. You will need to bake longer, 30 - 45 minutes.
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