On the face of it, cauliflower might not seem like the most exciting vegetable. It looks kind of cool, like a big tree covered in snow, but how would you describe the flavor? Sort of … barely there? But it’s this factor, the subtle and neutral flavor, that in fact makes cauliflower such a superb veggie to cook with! Although it’s low in fat and carbs and high in vitamin C, this brassica acts more like a starch than any other veggie besides a potato. Savvy cooks have long since figured this out, swapping it in for pizza crust, blitzing it to resemble rice and even using cauliflower puree as a base to make gluten-free bagels!
We love it in this recipe as part of an extra-cheesy gratin, with roasted garlic for a mouthwatering punch of umami. First, the garlic and cauliflower are roasted to bring out a gorgeous caramelized sweetness. The garlic, no longer sharp or bitter after its trip to the oven, is sauteed with butter as the base for a creamy sauce, with both cream cheese and cheddar for extra lusciousness. The cauliflower and cream sauce go into a casserole dish together, with a final sprinkle of Parmesan and more cheddar. After a bake, the result is seriously just as good as your favorite mac-and-cheese, but with a healthy veggie in place of pasta!
There is so much wonderful Pennsylvania cheddar out there — grab a block of your favorite (or try something new) to give this gratin a local spin. We love the white cheddar from Penn State Berkey Creamery (University Park, PA), Barn Red Ched from Calkin’s Creamery (Honesdale, PA) and Clover Cheddar from Clover Creek Cheese Cellar (Williamsburg, PA). And, instead of Italian Parm, try Calverley, a grana padana-style hard cheese from Keswick Creamery (Newburg, PA) or garlicky Cynwyd Knoll from Merion Park Cheese Co.
Watch our video for the technique, then head to Savor Recipes for the full recipe!
- Video and photo: Dish Works for Savor Recipes