Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Romanesco cauliflower cheese

Inflicting jaundiced food on my dear readers has become a habit. Apologies. Bakes, cakes, and corn, my current weaknesses, don't fill a screen with colour. My next post will be a verdant delight, I promise.

Back to the bake...

Last weekend I bought a beautiful romanesco cauliflower from the farmers' market. I wanted it to appeal to my one-year-old, so a dousing in dairy was the only way forward. But not just the usual bechamel and a bit of cheddar - I wanted to enjoy it, too. Dijon mustard, Poilane sourdough breadcrumbs, nutmeg, and Gruyere turned it into something very special indeed.

Prep: 15-20 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
  • 1 romanesco cauliflower, florets removed and rinsed
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 500ml whole milk
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • generous grating of nutmeg
  • large handful grated sharp cheddar cheese/Gruyere
  • 1 ball of mozzarella, sliced
  • 1 tbsp creme fraiche
  • 2 cups of breadcrumbs
  • 3 tbsp grated Parmesan
Preheat the oven to 190C. Steam the cauliflower for 8-10 minutes, until tender. Lay it in an ovenproof dish, in a single layer.

Melt the butter in a saucepan over a low heat, then add the flour and stir constantly for 1 minute. Gradually start adding the milk, a tbsp at a time, stirring constantly as it becomes amalgamated with the flour and butter to make a smooth paste. Once the paste has become looser, and more liquid, add the rest of the milk and cook over a low heat, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes or until the sauce has a thick and creamy consistency.

Take the bechamel off the heat, and add the mustard, nutmeg, cheeses, and cream. Stir until they have melted into the sauce. Season.

Pour the sauce evenly over the cauliflower. Mix the breadcrumbs and Parmesan together, and scatter over the dish. Cook for 30 minutes, until you have a delightful crunchy top, and bubbling, oozing sauce underneath.


  1. I did a romanesco cauliflower cheese last year, but used blue cheese to go with the green colour theme.

    Loving your version!

  2. Ooh, blue cheese. What a great idea. Not sure my little boy would have taken to it, though. Trying to make food that will suit all ages, but missing cooking with wine and chillies (and blue cheese!)