Cauliflower is not my husband’s favourite so it’s always a challenge to primp it up and make it attractive.
This cauliflower-bacon gratin is adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table. It is savoury, creamy and oozing with melted cheese. Little crunchy pebbles of bacon show up in every mouthful hiding under the creamy vegetables. Although the original recipe uses only cauliflower, I decided to throw in some broccoli to add a burst of fresh colour.
But there’s nothing worse than overcooked cauliflower and broccoli, so when you steam or boil them make sure you’re standing right there to turn off the heat when they’re barely done and plunge them in cold water so that they retain their bite and colour. I made this on a cold winter evening, and enjoyed the soul-satisfying warm embrace of its classic flavours.
Cauliflower Broccoli Bacon Gratin
- half cauliflower
- an equal quantity of broccoli
- 113 g bacon cut into thin strips
- 1/3 cup plain flour
- 5 large eggs beaten
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2/3 cup milk
- 80 g Gruyère grated
- Salt pepper and freshly grated nutmeg
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees, butter an oven-proof baking dish and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment.
- Cut cauliflower and broccoli into medium size florets and boil for no more that 10 minutes before plunging them in ice-cold water to stop the cooking and to refresh their colour. Then drain and pat dry.
- Meanwhile fry bacon till browned but not crisp and drain. Arrange the veggies in the buttered dish topped with a scattering of bacon.
- In a separate bowl, add the flour, slowly beating in the eggs followed by cream and milk. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg before mixing in two thirds of the cheese.
- Pour the mixture evenly over the vegetables, sprinkle the remaining cheese on top and bake for about 25 minutes till bubbly and golden (keep under a broiler for a few minutes if the top needs more browning).
- Insert a skewer and if it comes out clean, it's done.