Cauliflower is one of those vegetables that people have trouble preparing. Steaming cauliflower is wonderful but sometimes you just want a little more pizazz. French gratins are the the most common way to add some zip – cheese, butter bread crumbs and a white sauce. But that version usually requires parboiling the cauliflower and making a bechamel sauce. I wanted a quicker and lighter version and decided to try some shortcuts.
Taking my lead from scalloped potatoes I skipped the parboiling step and baked the gratin covered with a little milk. I didn’t even miss the creamy white sauce since the cauliflower was perfectly steamed and oozing with cheese and buttered breadcrumbs.
Happily, this was a shortcut experiment that worked out well!
Cauliflower Gratin – Easy Style
1/2 head cauliflower, sliced in 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 cup milk
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
1 cup bread crumbs
3 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Drizzle a little olive oil on the bottom of an 8 inch baking pan and smear around. Layer cauliflower slices, slightly overlapping. Sprinkle caraway seeds over all and evenly distribute cheese over top. In skillet, melt butter and stir in bread crumbs and stir 1 minute until they absorb all of the butter. Salt lightly and distribute evenly over cauliflower. If you have a cover for the pan, cook for 20 minutes covered. If not, cover with tin foil and crimp edges to seal in pan. Remove cover after 20 minutes and cook another 10 minutes to allow top to brown.