Sunday, October 09, 2011
Well, it's that time of year again... I'm on the hunt for new Thanksgiving sides to bring to my Mom's. Of course, I still make the traditional sides that have become holiday staples for our family, but I also like to bring one new dish each year. As I said in my previous post, it was a perfect stay inside and cook weekend, so I started with this recipe. The original is from Ina Garten's Barefoot in Paris, but I changed a few things to suit my taste. I have to say this was one of the best side dishes I've had in a long time... the texture and slight sweetness from the cauliflower is a nice fit with the creamy saltiness of the cheese sauce. The best part... it's really easy to make!
2 heads cauliflower, cut into large florets
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, divided
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup half and half
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp white pepper
3/4 cup freshly grated Gruyere
1/2 cup freshly grated Romano cheese
1/3 cup panko
1/3 cup french fried onions
Preheat the oven to 375º.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add cauliflower and cook for about 3 minutes. Cauliflower should be just starting to get tender, but not cooked all the way through. Drain, and set aside.
In a medium sauce pan, melt 2 Tbs butter over medium heat. Whisk flour into melted butter and cook, stirring constantly for a minute or two. Slowly add milk and half and half, whisking constantly until smooth. Heat to a simmer, continuing to stir the whole time, mixture should thicken slightly. Mix in onion powder, garlic powder, nutmeg and pepper and reduce heat to low. Stir in cheeses a little at time until smooth.
Put drained cauliflower into a 9x13" baking dish and pour cheese sauce over, stirring to coat. Place in oven and bake 20-25 minutes.
Place french fried onions in a ziploc bag and crush into small crumbs. Add panko and remaining 2 Tbs melted butter. Close bag and shake well to coat all crumbs. Sprinkle evenly over the top of the cauliflower and bake an additional 5-10 minutes or until topping is browned and crisp.
Serves 6-8 as a side.