Serious Eats: Recipes

Dinner Tonight: Cauliflower Gratin

With half the continental U.S. blanketed in snow, maybe some of us are looking for a little comfort food. Something warm, tasty, and possibly cheesy? Macaroni and cheese is what initially came to my mind, but when I had a look at this Ina Garten recipe for a pretty straightforward cauliflower gratin, I realized that that's basically what this is. Switch out the pasta for chunks of cauliflower, which in this recipe are covered with a cheesy bechamel (aka Mornay sauce) before baking, and you're pretty close to macaroni and cheese. And it's a touch healthier—though it's all relative when you're talking about handfuls of cheese and butter.

No secrets to this recipe, really; a nice touch of nutmeg in the bechamel brings a distinct fragrance, but it's otherwise the traditional Parmesan and Gruyère combination and a crispy skin of bread crumbs and more cheese. Cauliflower takes particularly well to the gratin treatment. If you wanted to turn it into a main course with more protein, some chopped ham would fit in quite nicely.

About the author: Blake Royer founded The Paupered Chef with Nick Kindelsperger, where he writes about food and occasional travels. He is currently living for the year in Tartu, Estonia.

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