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Comforting Cauliflower

Jan 17, 2019

It is January in South Dakota. Days are cold, snowy and dark. I know that winter will last at least another three months, but I am not betting against the possibility of an April blizzard. Like most of you, I not only want, but need, comfort foods. Enter Cauliflower Au Gratin.

Admittedly, cauliflower doesn’t usually come to mind when I think about comfort food. Vegetables are not high on that list. During the winter, vegetables are more often treated like a responsibility than a feature of the meal in my house. Sure, I roast just about anything that I find in the produce section and chop cutting boards full of kale and spinach to add to soups, stews and sauces, but overall, there is no excitement for this section of my daily diet.

I do, however, get excited about rich, creamy and luscious cheese sauce. The nourishing cabbage-like flavor of cauliflower begs to be drenched in a blend of cheeses. Baking it all with bacon and green onion creates a scrumptious casserole that is absolutely pure comfort food. With Cauliflower Au Gratin on my plate, the next few months of winter are going to be delicious.


 

Creamy, cheesy cauliflower au gratin is a wintertime comfort food.

Cauliflower Au Gratin

1 head cauliflower

1/2 cup shredded colby jack (or other mild) cheese

1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

4 ounces cream cheese, softened

1/4 cup milk (approximately)

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 green onions, chopped

6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

salt & pepper, to taste

 

Heat oven to 375 degrees F.

Separate the cauliflower into florets. In a casserole dish with a lid, microwave 5 minutes until steamed and tender-crisp.

Combine the cheeses (freshly shredded will melt more smoothly due to avoiding the anti-clumping agents in pre-shredded cheeses), cream cheese and minced garlic using a mixer. Add the milk a little at a time to achieve a sauce-like texture. Don’t add too much milk, as the cauliflower will release additional liquid as it cooks.

Fold half of the crumbled bacon and half of the green onions into the cheese mixture. Toss the cauliflower to thoroughly coat with the cheese mixture.

Pour into a greased 8x8 baking dish. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil, top with remaining bacon and bake an additional 10 minutes. Top with remaining green onions before serving. (Serves 4-6).

Fran Hill has been blogging about food at On My Plate since October of 2006. She, her husband and their three dogs ranch near Colome.

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