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Cauliflower Au Gratin

November 7, 2011

Cauliflower reminds me of this grotesque photo I saw of some disease in Microbiology 111. It was one of those moments where the 250-person lecture hall gawked in horror yet could not take their eyes off the projector screen. Some students sprinted to the bathroom in repulsion. Others laughed. I stared it down like a train accident in awe.

I’m not really selling it to you, am I?

Well, if you like eating fungus by way of morels, portabellas and creminis, you won’t mind a little diseased cauliflower.

You know in some countries, guinea pigs are a delicacy? That makes me sad and confused at the same time. Sad because I have always wanted one a guinea pig. Confused because how much meat can you really get off this one-pound pig?

Back to that diseased cauliflower, this casserole compliments Turkey Day quite well. You will notice in the photos that the bread crumbs in my photos look a bit charred. Long story short, I had leftover Pumpernickel and Rye crusts. Because I cannot throw away food unless it’s gone science experiment on me, I made bread crumbs out of the leftover Pumpernickel and Rye crusts.

Cauliflower and Bacon Au Gratin

Adapted from:

  • Unsalted butter, for dish, plus 1/2 stick (4 tablespoons), cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 cups of bread crumbs or make your own!
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
  • 8 ounces bacon, cooked until crispy and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 cup grated Italian cheese blend, divided
  • 1 pound cauliflower, trimmed and cut into florets

Place an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter an 8 by 8-inch casserole dish. Set aside.

How To Make Bread Crumbs

In the bowl of a food processor, blend day old bread until it forms into crumbs.

In a large non-stick skillet, heat the butter over medium heat. Add the bread crumbs and cook, stirring constantly until all the butter has been absorbed and the bread crumbs are toasted, about 1 to 2 minutes.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the cream and flour. Add the bacon and 1/2 cup of cheese. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil over high heat. Add the cauliflower and cook for 2 minutes. Drain the cauliflower and toss with the cream mixture. Pour the cauliflower mixture into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with the bread crumbs and remaining 1/2 cup of cheese.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes until the cheese has melted and the top is golden brown.

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