Wednesday, March 9, 2011


A year and a half ago, after seeing the movie, "Julie & Julia", I was inspired to really start making the effort to cook. Up until then, my husband (who is an AMAZING cook), usually did all the cooking. Even though I was home all day with our two children, he would come home after a long day at work and get dinner on the table. It really was sad how I took such advantage of him. I mean really? I was home all day... couldn't I whip something up?

Anyway... this dish was one of the first things I prepared. I also fixed it the other night, so I thought I would share the yumminess with you. The recipe originally came from "Family Fun" magazine.

Cauliflower Au Gratin

(for cauliflower and sauce)
1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1 small head cauliflower( about 1.25 lbs.), cut into florets
2 tablespoons unsalted butter (I usually use salted)
2 tablespoons flour
1.5 cups whole milk
1.5 teaspoons horseradish
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg (I have yet to use this ingredient being that it is not a staple in my pantry)
3 oz. (3/4 cup) grated Gruyere cheese (or Swiss)

(for topping)
8 Ritz crackers, crushed (the recipe actually calls for reduced fat - yeah right!)
1/2 cup of Panko
1 tablespoon butter
1 oz. (1/4 cup) grated Gruyere cheese

1). Heat oven to 450. In medium saucepan, bring 6 cups of water to a boil. Add 1/2 teaspoon of the Kosher salt and the cauliflower. Partly cover the saucepan and let the cauliflower simmer until just tender - about 6 minutes. Drain the cauliflower and rinse it under cold water. Drain it well again.

2). Melt the butter over moderate heat in a large heavy saucepan. Add the flour and whisk for 2 minutes. Gradually add the milk, whisking to combine. Bring the sauce to a boil, whisking often, for about 1 minute, then simmer for 1 minute more, still whisking, to thicken it.

3). Remove the sauce from the heat and whisk in the horseradish and mustard, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt, and the nutmeg. Stir in the cheese, then the cauliflower. Pour the mixture into a 2.5 qt. casserole dish.

4). To make the topping, combine the crushed crackers and panko in a small bowl. Melt the butter and stir it into the mixture.

5). Sprinkle the once of cheese over the cauliflower, then top with the crumb mixture. Bake the gratin on the bottom oven rack until it's bubbling and golden, about 15 minutes. Allow it to rest for 5 minutes before serving. Serves 6.

NOTE** When I made it the other night, I used the unsalted butter for the first time. I don't know if this was the reason, but the horseradish flavor was definitely more prominent. So if you're not a fan of horseradish, I suggest using salted butter.

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