Is it really a roast dinner if there’s no super cheesy, crispy-topped cauliflower cheese on the table? Read our hints and tips to take this classic vegetable side to the next level.
• Browning a roux deepens the flavour of the resulting sauce, and gives it a toasty note.
• It may seem like a lot of cream, but it’s crucial for a truly indulgent result.
• Roasting the cauliflower first will help reduce the moisture in it, so there’s less chance of it leaking water into the sauce as it bakes. It also concentrates the flavour and adds a charred note that will up the intensity.
• Prep and cook time: 1 hour & 15 minutes
• Yield: Serves 6
• 75g butter
• 1 tbsp olive oil
• 400ml whole milk
• 4 tbsps plain flour
• 400ml double cream
• a good grating nutmeg
• 150g mature cheddar, grated
• 1 large cauliflower (about 1kg), broken into large florets
- Heat the oven to 220C/fan 200C/gas 7. Put the cauliflower florets into a bowl and toss with the olive oil and plenty of seasoning. Tip out onto a large baking tray, ensuring each floret has space around it. Roast for 20-25 minutes until lightly charred and tender to the point of a knife. Cool slightly. Turn down the oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6.
- Put the butter into a pan over a medium heat and, once melted and foaming, add the plain flour. Cook, while stirring, for 5 minutes until the butter turns a deep golden brown. Put the milk and cream into a measuring jug.
- Turn the heat to low and splash in a few tbsp of the milk mixture and whisk vigorously. It will form a thick paste that might look a little split but will come back together eventually. Keep adding the milk, 2-3 tbsps at a time, whisking vigorously all the time, only adding more milk once fully absorbed and the sauce is thick. Once all of the milk and cream are in, you will have a smooth sauce. Simmer gently, while regularly whisking, for 15 minutes to cook out the flour and thicken the sauce some more. Remove from the heat and stir through the cheddar, grate in the nutmeg and season well.
- Put the cauliflower florets into a deep baking dish then pour over the sauce. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until the top is charred, bubbling and golden.
This great family recipe is thanks to olive magazine at https://www.olivemagazine.com/recipes/vegetarian/best-ever-cauliflower-cheese/