Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Cauliflower and Roasted Carrot Gratin

Cauliflower cheese is occasionally absolutely what I fancy, definitely on my list of comfort foods. Take a little trouble to upgrade it by the addition of an extra ingredient, in this case carrots, and you have a dish that will grace any supper table. Roasting the carrots intensifies the flavour, the sweetness working perfectly with the savoury flavour of the cheddar cheese. This recipe serves 4 but it easily scaled up to serve 6-8.

For this recipe you will need;
300g (a small) cauliflower cut into florets.
4oog of carrots
240 full flavoured cheddar cheese
150ml of milk
150ml of double cream
150g of breadcrumbs
30g of unsalted butter
1 tablespoon of plain flour
1 teaspoon of light olive oil
1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
1 teaspoon of bouillon powder or 1 second 1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper.

Begin by roasting the carrots, cut them into 1 centimeter discs, toss them in a teaspoon of oil and the 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt and roast in a medium oven 180C for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile place the butter and milk in a lidded saucepan, place on a medium heat and bring to the boil. Once the milk reaches the boil, put on the lid and switch off the heat.
Prepare the cheese by grating 200g of it with the plain flour. I do this in a food processor, which is incredibly easy. Add the grated cheese flour mix to the cooked cauliflower along with the seasoning and the double cream. Bring this up to a gentle simmer. stirring continuously and allow to simmer on the lowest possible heat for 10 minutes in order to remove any raw flavour from the flour. Add the carrots as soon as they are cooked and stir in. Transfer to a shallow ovenproof dish.
Prepare the topping by grating the remaining cheese along with the breadcrumbs, again a food processor makes light work of this task. Top with the cheese crumb breadcrumbs and bake in a medium 180C oven for 30 minutes.

Half the mixture in the dish, before covering up the great pattern on the bottom.

Notes: this dish works equally well with calabrese, whatever you choose, do include the stalk cut up into small pieces, it is so often thrown away and it is every bit as flavourful, tender and nutritious as the florets.
For some unfathomable reason, some people throw away bread that has become a bit dry. This is the sort of dish, along with countless others, that makes excellent use of such bread, in fact fresh bread would not be as easy to use. If bread dries out and you are not in the mood to make a dish such as this, simply freeze the bread until you are. Frozen bread can easily be made into breadcrumbs once thawed, a matter of minutes.

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