Holiday Menu: Cauliflower Gratin

I love cauliflower but I know not everyone does.  This is a recipe that will get even a hater to eat his cauliflower.

To reduce the prep time, I cut the cauliflower and grated the Gruyere earlier in the day.  Also, I used two medium size heads.  One head was not going to be enough for the six people I was serving.

There was not a crumb left to this dish!  Definitely a keeper!

Cauliflower Gratin
Barefoot Contessa

  • 1 (3-pound) head cauliflower, cut into large florets
  • Kosher salt
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, divided
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups hot milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup freshly grated Gruyere, divided
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1/4 cup fresh bread crumbs

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Cook the cauliflower florets in a large pot of boiling salted water for 5 to 6 minutes, until tender but still firm. Drain.

Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. Add the flour, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon for 2 minutes. Pour the hot milk into the butter-flour mixture and stir until it comes to a boil. Boil, whisking constantly, for 1 minute, or until thickened. Off the heat, add 1 teaspoon of salt, the pepper, nutmeg, 1/2 cup of the Gruyere, and the Parmesan.

Pour 1/3 of the sauce on the bottom of an 8 by 11 by 2-inch baking dish. Place the drained cauliflower on top and then spread the rest of the sauce evenly on top. Combine the bread crumbs with the remaining 1/4 cup of Gruyere and sprinkle on top. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and drizzle over the gratin. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the top is browned. Serve hot or at room temperature.

2 thoughts on “Holiday Menu: Cauliflower Gratin”

  • Hi Jess! I love cauliflower and this looks a lot like a cauliflower gratin I get at a restaurant here in Austin (Bess Bistro). Did you find the nutmeg overpowering? Adding nutmeg to savory dishes makes me a bit nervous…I’ve added it to things in the past and it seems so strong! So many savory potato/veggie dishes call for a hit of nutmeg I wonder if I am nuts. I may swap out for some cayenne (or be brave and do the nutmeg!) and use this on New Year’s Eve with a prime rib roast. Thanks for a great menu idea!

    • Amanda – the dish is really delicious. I probably used a bit less nutmeg than called for because I have the same fear you have. And I really didn’t notice the nutmeg flavor. I love roasted cauliflower with red pepper flakes so I am sure a spice to add some heat would be great as well.

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