It’s always great to have an excuse to turn on the oven in the winter, especially if you live in a drafty, old house. This recipe, which I’ve played with a bit, came from The New York Times. It’s simple to make and is the definition of comfort food. Served with a small green salad, it makes a meal.
Meatless Monday: Cauliflower Gratin
- 1 large or 2 smaller heads of cauliflower (about 2 pounds), broken into florets
- 3 T extra virgin olive oil
- freshly ground pepper
- 6 ounces fresh goat or sheep cheese
- 1 clove garlic, halved
- 5 T almond, soy or hemp milk
- 1 t chopped fresh thyme leaves or 1/2 t dried thyme
- 1 cup dry, fine breadcrumbs
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Oil a two-quart gratin dish with olive oil.
Place the cauliflower in a steaming basket above one inch of boiling water. Cover and steam for one minute. Lift the lid and allow steam to escape for 15 seconds, then cover again and steam for six to eight minutes, until the cauliflower is tender. Remove from the heat and refresh with cold water. Drain on paper towels, then transfer to the gratin dish.
- Season the cauliflower generously with salt and pepper, then toss with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and half of the thyme. Spread in an even layer.
- Place the garlic in a mortar and pestle with a quarter-teaspoon salt, and mash to a paste. Combine with the goat cheese and milk in a food processor fitted with the steel blade, and blend until smooth. Add the remaining thyme and freshly ground pepper to taste, and pulse together. Spread this mixture over the cauliflower in an even layer.
- Just before baking, sprinkle on the breadcrumbs and drizzle on the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Bake 15 to 20 minutes, until the top is lightly browned and the dish is sizzling. Serve at once.