My husband doesn’t eat meat. Seafood, but no meat. Since most one pot meals are then off the table, I am always looking for new ways of getting veggies to the table. A friend at work came into my office recently and told me about a fabulous gratin she had the night before at a dinner party. As far as I’m concerned, anything with cream on top gets an extra 5 points in my book. So, did some investigating and found this Spinach and Cauliflower Gratin in Julia Childs The Way to Cook. The steps in the recipe spanned at least three pages, so I was thinking this would take forever to prepare. But really, there are four simple steps and by tweaking the recipe you can have it put together and into the oven in less than 20 minutes. That’s my type of cooking. When the gratin came out of the oven bubbling with creamy goodness, I knew this was a winner. It was absolutly delicious. Even my husband said he would like to see this come across the dinner table again. It was so good that I ate it for breakfast and lunch the next day.
The recipe feeds 4-6. Can definitely be made ahead of time, even the day before, just adjust the cooking time if the gratin goes into the oven straight from the fridge.
Spinach and Cauliflower Gratin
1 head cauliflower
2 tbs. olive oil
5 cups chopped spinach.
½ c. chopped shallots (or white onion)
2 ½ tbs. unsalted butter
3 ½ tbs. flour
2 cups hot milk
Salt and pepper
¾ cup grated swiss or gruyere cheese
1. Cut cauliflower head into smallish florets. Steam in a bamboo basket or steamer for 3-5 minutes. Do not overcook! Remember the cauliflower will continue to cook in the oven. Set aside
2. Melt olive oil in medium skillet. Sauté onion till translucent (7-9 minutes). Toss in spinach and cook till spinach has wilted. Remove from heat. Season with salt, pepper, and a pinch of nutmeg. Set Aside.
3. Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour. Cook for 2-3 minutes while continuously stirring. Pour in ½ c. hot milk. Whisk vigorously to make get rid of any lumps. Pour in remaining milk and bring mixture to a simmer. Let simmer for 1 minute. Remove from heat, stir in cheese. Season with salt and pepper.
4. In a 6 x 8 baking pan, combine spinach mixture and 3 tbs. of cheese sauce. Stir together and smooth into an even layer on bottom on pan. Arrange cauliflower on top of spinach. Pour remaining cheese sauce on top.
Bake 15 to 20 minutes in a 425 degree oven. Remove when cheese sauce is bubbly and top has lightly browned.