As summer fades and the days become cooler, we welcome the change as it means beautiful cauliflowers in our kitchen garden are ready to harvest. Of the brassica family, the cauliflower is nutrient dense and has several health benefits which position it is a ‘super food’. That aside it is a tried and true crowd pleaser and versatile to cook with. An easy and tasty way to enjoy it is as a simple baked cauliflower cheese. Use a good grating cheese for the béchamel such as Jarlsberg or Emmental to give it richness plus a handful of good old tasty cheese for it’s stretchy, melting properties. We use toasted bread crumbs as the topping but for a secret pro-tip at home try a mix of crumbled weetbix and cornflakes. It will give it a surprising crunch that will have you going back for seconds.
1x cauliflower head
100ml Margan Chardonnay
400ml full-cream milk
400ml pouring cream
1 pinch ground nutmeg
1 clove of garlic, crushed
2 sprigs of thyme
45g all-purpose flour
150g tasty cheese
150g Jarlsberg cheese
1/2 cup panko Japanese breadcrumbs
In a large pot combine the nutmeg, wine, milk, cream, garlic and thyme.
Bring to the boil and turn off.
Prepare the cauliflower by trimming off the leaves cutting down into florets. Trim and dice the stem as well (this is still great to eat).
Add the cauliflower into the pot of milk, bring back to the boil then turn down to a simmer and cook for 5 mins until the cauliflower is slightly softened. (not too soft as it will be cooked again).
Strain the cauliflower out through a colander and reserve the milk mixture.
In another pot, melt the butter then add the flour and cook for 5 mins, stirring constantly so as not to stick. Slowly whisk the milk into the butter/flour paste, avoiding any lumps then turn down to a low heat and cook for 10 more minutes.
Take off the heat and add half of each of the cheeses to make the sauce. Season to taste.
Add the pre-cooked cauliflower and mix well through the sauce.
Place into an ovenproof dish and sprinkle with the remaining cheese and breadcrumbs.
Bake in a hot oven until the sauce starts to bubble and the cheese melts and turns golden.
Serve immediately with any other meats or fish that you want.
It’s a real winter warmer.