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Cozy season is French cuisine's time to shine.

Coq au vin. Beef bourguignonne. French onion soup. Raclette (Instagram-famous melty cheese). Everything warm, everything wine, everything melted cheese. And let's not forget about gratin. Gratin is literally any vegetable covered in cheese and breadcrumbs and melted, but today, we're using cauliflower. 

Cauliflower is not only cheap because it's in-season right now, but it holds up well when placed in the oven for an extended period of time. It retains its crunchiness and flavor while still being malleable enough to be covered in 4 types of cheese. 

Maybe you ended up here cause you're looking for some new side dish inspiration. Maybe you ended up here because you're in the mood for hot cheese. Maybe you ended up here because you've got a head of stinky cauliflower in your fridge and you have no idea what to do with it. Either way, this is a judgement-free zone, and I welcome you with open arms. You can make these lovely gratins in cute ceramic ramekins (Pssst: I got my Le Creuset set for the low-low at Home Goods) or you can go for a shallow baking dish; take your pick. 

I cannot stress to you enough how important emmentaler cheese is in this recipe. It's called the 'swissest of swiss' cheese for a reason. It gives such a nice bite to the really smooth cheese sauce and makes it so good til the last bite.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 head fresh cauliflower
  • 1 c milk
  • 1/2 c finely diced onions
  • 1/2 c panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 c unsalted butter (1/2 stick)
  • 1/4 c flour
  • 1/4 tsp ground mustard
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Cut the cauliflower from the stems until you have bite-sized florets.
  3. Bring a quart of water to a boil, boil the cauliflower for 5 minutes, drain and set aside.
  4. In a saucepan melt 1 tbsp of the butter.
  5. Sautee the onions in the butter on medium-high until clear and soft in texture
  6. Melt the rest of the butter in the onions, stir in the spices, then whisk in the flour until a past forms
  7. Slowly pour in the milk and whisk, let it come to a boil until the mixture thickens, then turn off the heat.
  8. Stir in the shredded cheese until you have a thick sauce.
  9. Slowly fold the cheese sauce into the cauliflower
  10. Put the cauliflower in lightly greased ramekins, top with parmesan and bread crumbs
  11. Bake for 25 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and crusty.

 

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