Cauliflower-Bacon Gratin

January 13th, 2011

Cauliflower Bacon Gratin

Wow, I thought my Beer-Battered fried cauliflower recipe was an offensively unhealthy way to eat this delicious veggie, but covering it in cream, butter, milk, cheese and BACON might trump even that.  Doesn’t matter, no one will give two sh__s about how healthy it is or isn’t once they taste the cheesy bacon goodness.  Bon Appetit!  This recipe came from my Christmas present, the wonderful book by Dorie Greenspan Around My French Table.

Cauliflower Bacon Gratin Cauliflower Bacon Gratin

The dish is made very similar to a quiche; with cream, cheese and eggs playing a major role.  Then it just gets better after that.

Cauliflower-Bacon Gratin

Adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Around my French Table

  • 1 head cauliflower, separated into florets
  • 1/4 pound bacon, cut crosswise into slender strips
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 5 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2/3 cup whole milk
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Grated nutmeg
  • 3 ounces Gruyere (you can use Emmenthal, Comte, or even Swiss in a pinch), grated
  1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper. Generously butter an oven-going pan that holds about 2 1/2 quarts. (It’s not elegant and it’s a tad too big, but a 9-by-13-inch Pyrex pan is fine.) Put the dish on the baking sheet.
  2. Put a large pot of salted water on to boil and add a few drops of white vinegar. Drop the florets into the boiling water and cook for 10 minutes. Drain, rinse the cauliflower under cold running water to cool it down, and pat it dry.
  3. While the cauliflower is cooking, toss the bacon strips into a heavy skillet, put the skillet over medium heat, and cook just until the bacon is browned but not quite crisp. Drain and pat dry.
  4. Spread the cauliflower out in the buttered pan, and scatter over the bacon bits.
  5. Put the flour in a bowl and gradually whisk in the eggs. When the flour and eggs are blended, whisk in the cream and milk. Season the mixture with salt, pepper and nutmeg, and stir in about two thirds of the cheese. Pour the mixture over the cauliflower, shake the pan a little so that the liquid settles between the florets, and scatter over the remaining cheese.
  6. Bake the gratin for about 25 minutes, or until it is puffed and golden and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. If the top isn’t as brown as you’d like it to be, run it under the broiler for a couple of minutes.
Cauliflower Bacon Gratin
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“Understand, when you eat meat, that something did die. You have an obligation to value it - not just the sirloin but also all those wonderful tough little bits.”
~ Anthony Bourdain