Published March 1, 2002.
Poorly made cauliflower gratin is a gruesome merger of floury sauce and mealy cauliflower sitting under a damp carpet of bread crumbs. Here is our take on how to do it right.
Cauliflower gratin often falls short, with the cauliflower either undercooked or overcooked and the sauce a gluey, flavorless mass that manages to swamp the bread crumb topping. At the other extreme, raw florets flat in a soupy, spa-inspired milk broth.
Our goal was to marry tender yet toothsome cauliflower florets with a lightly thickened sauce, then top it all off with buttery, crispy crumbs. When sprinkled with a little cream and broiled under a thin sheet of buttery crumbs, these earthy flavored, milky white florets shine in the form of a classic French gratin.
Par-cook the cauliflower florets before adding them to the gratin to ensure just the right amount of cooking time. Make a simple Mornay sauce with shallots, garlic, nutmeg, and cayenne, and add Parmesan cheese for flavor and the smoothest texture. Top with freshly made bread crumbs and bake in a shallow gratin dish for a perfectly toasted crust.list of recipes