Defeat Garden

Cauliflower and Ham Au Gratin

Posted on: November 17, 2010

This is another recipe that I tried from the Rachel Ray magazine I picked up a few weeks ago.  I made it last week, and thought it could be better, so we tried it again this week!

I used:

1 head cauliflower, chopped up

butter

1 shallot, minced

1/2 cup (or so) white wine

1 cup heavy cream

some nutmeg

1 tablespoon (or so) Dijon mustard

1-1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

a few good handfuls of diced ham

some Parmesan cheese

some parsley

First, I wanted to roast the cauliflower.  This is one of the things that I changed from the recipe (also, I didn’t use flour, and I used cheddar cheese instead of Gruyère, and I used cheap ham instead of prosciutto).  So I chopped up the head of cauliflower, coated it in some olive oil, salt and pepper and stuck in the oven at 400 for 20 minutes, stirred, and then 15 more minutes.

During those first 20 minutes, I got everything else ready to go (read: shredded the cheese, minced the shallot and started a load of laundry!).

After I stirred the cauliflower, I started to make the cheesy sauce 🙂  I melted the butter, and then added in the shallot and cooked it for a few minutes.

Then add the wine and cream, whisking the whole time you’re adding.  (Last week when I made this I used regular milk.  Trust me, don’t do that!  It’s just gross….) Then season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg.  (at this point, if you want, you can add a few tablespoons of flour to make the sauce thicker – that might improve on this a bit, I admit.  One day I’m going to try making it with some almond flour or something like that)

Add the mustard, and start stirring in your shredded cheese, a little at a time.

As you can see, the girl was helping me out at this point!  While I whisked, she added the cheese a little at a time.  That’s the other thing with a cheese sauce, don’t add the cheese all at once.  If you do that, it won’t melt into the sauce, it’ll just make a big clump and burn on or stick to your pan.  Again, trust me on this one!

My sauce turned a pretty dark orange/yellow color once we had all the cheese mixed in.  You can also see in the next picture how the roasted cauliflower turned a nice brown on some of the edges.

Once you’re satisfied with your sauce, pour it over the cauliflower in your roasting pan, and then sprinkle in a few handfuls of ham.  I bought a small cooked ham and sliced it up, then diced it into even smaller pieces.  Then you can freeze some of it.  We hardly ever use the whole thing at once, so this works pretty well for us.  We also use the ham in omelets or salads while we’ve got it.

Give the cauliflower, ham, and cheese sauce a good stir, then sprinkle some Parmesan and parsley over the top.  Stick it back into your oven for about 5-10 minutes, really just long enough to get everything all melted together.

Enjoy!

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