Tangy Cheddar Cauliflower
Make your plan for Thanksgiving yet? Each year I think of new vegetable sides to grace the table of bounty (and it’s all about the sides, right?). I also dream of harvest desserts, which in my mind are second in command.
Behold the cauliflower, Queen of Vegetables. Roasted, riced, in crackers and gnocchi, in wraps and soups and stews, the main affair and the sidekick. Moreover, stores are now loaded with fresh cauliflower, even vivid colors like orange and purple. This is a Recent Thing.
Potatoes occupy the number one place in my heart of hearts and I will never forsake them. A holiday table is not complete unless something like Cheddar Parmesan Potato Gratin makes an entrance. However, let us eat more veggies and fewer starches for better balance. This cheesy side dish holds its own against any creamy potato side, I’ll wager.
Save the Cauliflower Bits for Enjoying Later
Here is my trick for cutting cauliflower : divide into quarters and manually make florets. Cut and save the trimmed bits for a tasty salad; they keep in the fridge for days.
Tangy Cheddar Cauliflower is a good make-ahead dish. Once defrosted, run under the broiler to give a nice burnished top and serve hot. Equally important, now all you need is a great accompanying potato dish to complete your holiday table.
Tangy Cheddar Cauliflower
recipe by Michele Humlan, The Good Eats Company
makes 6-8 servings
one large head cauliflower
1 ½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons gluten free flour mix – I like King Arthur measure-for-measure*
one cup whole milk
one cup greek yogurt or sour cream
1 ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
* regular all purpose flour also works well
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Cut head of cauliflower into quarters and manually break into large bite size pieces, placing on heavy non insulated sheet pan; if desired, save cauliflower trimmings for enjoying later.
- With clean hands, toss cauliflower with olive oil and one teaspoon kosher salt, on the pan.
- Bake for 20 minutes, giving a good shake halfway through to move pieces around.
- If making ahead, turn off oven and if serving soon, place oven on high broil setting.
- While cauliflower bakes, make sauce : melt butter in sturdy two quart saucepan over medium heat, whisk in flour and cook over medium low heat, whisking occasionally, about 5 minutes, avoiding browning.
- Slowly add milk, whisking (few tablespoons at a time to avoid shocking the starch and making sauce grainy), then do the same with the greek yogurt or sour cream.
- Increase heat slightly and cook mixture about 4 minutes, whisking occasionally.
- Off heat, add cheddar and whisk well just until cheese is melted.
- Add roasted cauliflower to sauce and place all in oiled heavy broiler proof cast iron skillet or baking dish.
- Broil several minutes or just until top is nicely browned.
- If dish is made ahead and frozen, defrost thoroughly in fridge, then bake at 400 degrees until warmed throughout (time depends on depth of dish), then broil until just browned on top.