Cauliflower Gratin

My cousin Erik loves to cook as much as I do, and we cook our family's holiday meal each Christmas. Erik has made this recipe the past couple years and I absolutely love it. The recipe comes from Jacques Pepin and it wonderfully easy and delicious. Jacques Pepin is a french chef and was also shared a cooking show with Julia Child.  Please forgive my picture! It was 8 p.m., Kellen needed to eat and I am photographing white on white in poor light....This looks much better in person!  This cauliflower is simply decadent, and a side  for any type of meal. I love cauliflower, but you could easily use potatoes, brussel sprouts or even turnips in its place.  Ron and I enjoyed this on Valentine's Day along side our grilled steak and garlic shrimp.


1 firm white cauliflower (about 1 1/2 pounds)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups milk
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/2 cup grated Gruyère or Emmenthaler cheese
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Remove the green leaves from the cauliflower, cut out the core, and separate cauliflower into florets. Drop the florets into a large stainless steel saucepan of boiling salted water, bring back to a boil, and cook, uncovered, for about 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Add the flour and cook over low heat for about 1 minute, stirring with a whisk; do not let the mixture brown. Add the milk and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly to prevent scorching, then simmer over low heat for 1 minute. Add the cream, salt, white pepper, and nutmeg and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat.

Generously butter a gratin dish. Put the florets in the dish stem side down and coat with the white béchamel. Sprinkle with the cheeses. Place on a cookie sheet and bake for about 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve.

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