The roasted cauliflower and aged white cheddar soup has been on my mind a lot lately and when it came time to think about side dishes for my Thanksgiving dinner one of the first ideas that came to mind was to convert the soup into a side dish. It seemed only natural that the side dish would take the form of a gratin and a roasted cauliflower and aged white cheddar gratin was sounding really good! Although steamed cauliflower would work in a gratin, I wanted the extra flavour that roasting adds even if it meant more oven time! I kept the gratin really simple with a base of an easy bechamel sauce that the aged white cheddar is melted into before being poured over the roasted cauliflower. Once the cauliflower has been roasted the aged white cheddar bechamel sauce has been made, all that need to be done it to mix them, top them with panko bread crumbs and then bake them until golden brown.
Tip: Make sure to brown the butter and then cook the flour in the butter until it starts to brown to get more flavour in the bechamel sauce and ensure that there is no flour-y taste.
Bacon: Smoky bacon or even pancetta would be a great addition and for the daring, replacing the butter in the bechamel sauce with bacon grease would add even more smoky, bacon-y goodness!
Mushrooms: Sautéed mushrooms or dried porcini mushrooms would also be amazing in this gratin!
Bacon and Mushroom: Combine all three to make something even more decadently delicious!
Roasted Cauliflower and Aged White Cheddar Gratin
Tender roasted cauliflower in an aged white cheddar sauce that is baked until golden brown and bubbling with a crispy panko breadcrumb topping.
- 1 large head cauliflower, cut into florets
- 2 tablespoons oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons flour (rice flour for gluten-free)
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, optional
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup aged white cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs (gluten free for gluten free)
- Toss the cauliflower florets in the oil along with the salt and pepper and arrange them in a single layer on a large baking sheet.
- Roast the cauliflower in a preheated 400F/200C oven until lightly golden brown, about 20-30 minutes.
- Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat, mix in the flour and let cook until it just starts to brown a little.
- Mix in the milk, nutmeg, salt and pepper and cheese and heat until the cheese melts and the sauce thickens.
- Mix cauliflower into the bechamel sauce, pour into a baking dish and top with the bread crumbs.
- Bake in a preheated 350F/180C oven until it is bubbling on the sides and golden brown on top, about 15-20 minutes.
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