Nigel Slater, my new found cookbook friend, is a big fan of dairy products. Suits me, since dairy is a close second to vegetables in my "favourite food groups" stakes. So cauliflower cheese is a natural choice for Nigel and for me.
The recipe for Luxury Cauliflower Cheese from Slater's new cookbook started with these two absolutely beautiful romanesco cauliflowers. They came in my veg box. I took these pictures only partly for this blog--the fractal patterns in the florets may feature in an upcoming maths lesson.)
The sauce is a dairy-lover's dream. It starts with milk warmed with onions, cloves, and a bay leaf, and also includes butter, cream, and two types of cheese.
Luxury Cauliflower Cheese
adapted from Nigel Slater's Tender: v. 1: A Cook and His Vegetable Patch
serves 2 as a main dish or 4 as a side dish
a small onion, peeled
1 L milk
a bay leaf
50 g (about 1/4 c) butter
50 g (1/2 c) flour
4 T cream
100g (1 c) grated cheddar cheese
1 large or 2 medium cauliflowers, chopped
some Parmesan cheese, to serve
Stud the onion with the cloves. Heat the milk with the bay leaf and onion. When it reaches the boil, turn off the heat and let sit for 10 minutes.
Melt the butter in a heavy pan. Add the flour and stir until it is light golden and nutty smelling.
Add the warm milk gradually, whisking until smooth. Let it simmer for 15-20 minutes.
Meanwhile, boil the cauliflower cheese for 3-4 minutes and then drain.
Add the cream and cheese to the sauce and season well. Pour the sauce over the cauliflower.
Serve sprinkled with Parmesan cheese.