Purple Cauliflower Gratin

Photo: Randy Graham, Valley Vegetarian

Robin said to me one afternoon last week, “Let’s try something different as a side dish for dinner. Let’s have cauliflower.”

I thought about it for a moment and replied, “I’ll be right back” and grabbed the car keys.

“Where are you going?” she asked?

“I’m on a quest to find a very different head of cauliflower,” I said. “You want something different, I’ll give you different. I promise you’ll like it!”

When I returned from the store with two heads of purple cauliflower, Robin looked crestfallen until I assured her the taste was the same as regular cauliflower.

Don’t let the purple color of the cauliflower dampen your enthusiasm for this creamy, cheesy, and mighty tasty dish. If you can’t find purple cauliflower, substitute green or orange cauliflower (yes…they really do exist). If you had to, you could use regular cauliflower and the taste would still be the same.

2 medium heads purple cauliflower
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 shallots (sliced thin)
¼ cup flour
¼ teaspoon salt
2 cups half and half (substitute regular milk if you must)
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ cup prepared horseradish
1 cup grated Fontina cheese (Gruyere is a good substitute)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Cut cauliflower into florets. Cook florets in boiling salted water until just tender – about 6 to 7 minutes.

Prepare the sauce by melting butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. Add shallots and cook, stirring often, until shallots are translucent and sweet – about 4 minutes. Add flour and salt and stir for 1 minute. Add half and half and nutmeg and stir until thick. Mix in horseradish.

Toss cooked florets in sauce with half the cheese and place in a gratin dish. Put remaining cheese on top and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown.

About Valley Vegetarian

The fresh chef providing consistently good vegetarian comfort food recipes.
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