Cauliflower Gratin

I have always been a fan of cauliflower, boiled, fried, steamed or even raw. Even when I was a kid,  I loved this vegetable, unlike my brother who used to kick and scream every time my mom made us a dish with cauliflower. The only way he would eat them was ‘the lebanese way’ roasted then served with tahini sauce, he used to dip the florets with lots of tahini sauce to mask the flavor of the vegetable.

Well a few days ago, I found myself starring at a beautiful display of cauliflower in the farmer’s market, I decided that it was time to make cauliflower gratin.
In French, "gratin" means that a dish, whether vegetables, meat or any other ingredient has been baked with a topping of bread crumbs or cheese and then browned. In French “le gratin” means crust and the verb “gratiner” means to brown, usually under a broiler.

In addition to the famous French potato dish called 'gratin dauphinois,' cooking au gratin is a widely used cooking technique in the preparation of numerous dishes. Gratin de chou-fleur is a classic dish in every French family.

The cold weather continues to blanket Paris and the icy wind is whipping across the city. This big freeze is showing no signs of easing up after another day of snow and plummeting temperatures. So to stay warm, I am only cooking hearty meals; I'm talking soups, stews and of course gratins. What better way to keep out wintry chills than with hearty dishes. The combination of tender cauliflower, creamy sauce, crunchy topping and melted cheese make a delightful weeknight meal.

1 (3-pound) head cauliflower, cut into large florets
4 tbsp (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, divided
3 tbsp all-purpose flour
2 cups hot milk
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
3/4 cup freshly grated Gruyère, divided
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1/4 cup fresh bread crumbs

Preheat the oven to 375ºF (190ºC).

Cook the cauliflower florets in a large pot of boiling salted water for 5 to 6 minutes, until tender but still firm. Drain.

Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. Add the flour, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon for 2 minutes. Pour the hot milk into the butter-flour mixture and stir until it comes to a boil. Boil, whisking constantly, for 1 minute, or until thickened. Off the heat, add 1 teaspoon of salt, the pepper, nutmeg, 1/2 cup of the Gruyere, and the Parmesan.

Pour 1/3 of the sauce on the bottom of an 8 by 11 by 2-inch baking dish. Place the drained cauliflower on top and then spread the rest of the sauce evenly on top. Combine the bread crumbs with the remaining 1/4 cup of Gruyere and sprinkle on top. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and drizzle over the gratin. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the top is browned. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Gratin de chou-fleur 
1 chou fleur
50 g de beurre
50 g de farine
1/2 litre de lait chaud
1/2 càc de poivre noir
1/4 càc de noix de muscade rapé
60 g de Gruyère rapé
40 g de Parmesan rapé
3 càs de chapelure

Préchauffez le four à 190ºC.

Détailler le chou-fleur en petits bouquets, les laver et les faire bouillir 5 à 6 mn. Égoutter.

Pendant ce temps, faire fondre la moitié du beurre (25g) dans une casserole à feu doux. Ajouter la farine d'un coup et bien remuer 2 mn. Faire bouillir le lait. Ajouter le lait bouillant au mélange farine-beurre. Bien remuer et mettre à feu moyen jusqu'à ce que le mélange épaississe. Hors feu, ajouter le sel, le poivre, la noix de muscade, 30 g de Gruyère et le Parmesan.

Napper le fond du plat à gratin gratin avec le 1/3 de la béchamel. Disposez les bouquets de chou-fleur au dessus puis napper du reste de la sauce béchamel. Mélanger la chapelure avec l'autre moitié de Gruyere et saupoudrer. Faites fondre l'autre moitié de beurre (25g) et versez sur le gratin. Enfournez 25 à 30 mn jusqu'à ce que le dessus soit gratiné.

Recipe adapted from Ina Garten


  1. That is one of my favorite veggie gratin! Yours looks beautiful.



  2. ici on aime bq le choux fleur, ton gratin me plait forcément !

  3. i, too, love cauliflower, and am always happy to find recipes that glorify the vegetable. i'll have to add your recipe to my repertoire. thanks for sharing. lovely photos, too!

  4. Beautiful gratin! Sounds amazing with Gruyère!

  5. Cherine~ what a fantastic use of cauliflower! It is a perfect dish for the chilly weather here in the mountains!

  6. I agree with Rosa that cauliflower is one of my favorite vegetables. To combine it with warm spices, milk, breadcrumbs and cheese would be comforting beyond words. I'll propose this for part of a wintry night's supper while my fiancée and I are visiting our families in Wisconsin this Christmas!



  7. I heard this morning on the news about the early snow and cold that Europe is getting. I was there at this time last year, and missed the snow by just a few days. I wish it snowed while I was there! Anyways, this gratin looks wonderful. I do like cauliflower, but I don't LOVE it... but make it anyways because it's one of the few vegetables that my husband likes.

  8. Je suis un peu comme ton frère ! Je préfère la version frite. Le chou-fleur cuit à l'eau n'a pas trop de goût mais c'est vrai qu'en gratin ça peut s'arranger ! à tester !

  9. OMG..I LOVE cauliflower, especially in a gratin, and yours looks phenomenal. Bookmarked!

  10. J trouve que le choux-fleur se prête bien a la version gratin et béchamel; bien réconfortant comme on dit ici, "comfort food"

  11. Although I love cauliflower like yourself, I think perhaps if I gave it to my husband looking like your dish, he would probably eat it

  12. Chico, one of my faves..gooey gooey good!

  13. I've read about this recipe before. Yours looks great! Perfectly cooked.

  14. This looks so delicious before I even get to thinking about the wonderful flavours. I will drool from afar - our Summer has arrived at least one month early here in Wellington, New Zealand. Yipee to the courgettes flowering (only female flowers so far that get cooked and eaten anyway).

    Will have to buy the cauliflower that is available very soon, before their flavour is too strong and flesh is too fibrous. Ah - the joys of cooking in Winter and Summer.

  15. This looks fantastic! I bet it's perfect for the current weather in Europe! Cauliflower is such a great ingredient :-)

  16. What gorgeous photos. I think I'll put a cauliflower gratin on our weekend menu. I hope you are having a great day. Blessings...Mary

  17. Sounds absolutely fantastic. I'm also a giant cauliflower fan, but of course everything is even better with cheese and breadcrumbs!
    Winter is definitely here... it's time for comfort foods!! :D

  18. Delicious!!! Perfect side dish for a baked chicken or beef.

  19. oh great dish. and i love gruyere.

  20. I'm still wondering why I've never tried making this. A vegetable thats so easily availabe in my land, its almost neglected ! This just brings it back in spotlight. I think lunch tomorrow is Cauliflower Gratin :)

  21. Gorgeous, this looks so warm and comforting!

  22. tu rends le gratin de chou-fleur extrêmement gourmand.

  23. This will make all kids in the world start loving the veggies :)

  24. I have always loved cauliflower! This is so warming and comforting! Just delicious!


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