Cauliflower Casserole

  • Prep Time
    30 minutes
  • Cook Time
    45 minutes
  • Serving
  • View

This is a cauliflower au gratin in the strictest sense.  But “cauliflower,” reminded me of “flower power.”

Wikipedia says:  Flower power was a slogan used during the late 1960s and early 1970s as a symbol of passive resistance and nonviolenceIt is rooted in the opposition movement to the Vietnam War.  The expression was coined by the American Beat poet Allen Ginsberg in 1965 as a means to transform war protests into peaceful affirmative spectacles. Hippies embraced the symbolism by dressing in clothing with embroidered flowers and vibrant colors, wearing flowers in their hair, and distributing flowers to the public, becoming known as flower children The term later became generalized as a modern reference to the hippie movement and the so-called counterculture of drugs, psychedelic music, psychedelic art and social permissiveness.

And then Flower power reminded me of the movie Cactus Flower (1969) with Ingrid Bergman, Walter Matthau and Goldie Hawn.  I watched that one recently and it was hilarious.  Goldie Hawn was goofy, charming and vulnerable, Ingrid Bergman was dignified and elegant while Walter Matthau was perfect as a clueless man who finally finds the right woman.  Yes, the movie was dated but utterly watchable.

All word association games aside, this cauliflower dish was delicious. Be sure to steam your vegetables before putting them in the casserole, and don’t skip the nutmeg in the Bechamel.



Cauliflower Au Gratin


    Make bread crumbs with fresh white bread slices whizzed in the Kitchenaid stand mixer. Set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

    Step 1

    Steam the cauliflower for about 10 minutes or until fork tender. I used a steamer basket over 2 inches of water in a Le Crueset stew pot. Put the vegetables in the steamer basket and lower into the pot. Bring the water up to temp over a medium high heat. When you see steam rising from the pot, cover it and cook until the cauliflower until tender but still just firm. You want a vegetable that is not mushy but also not entirely crunchy. Remember it will continue to cook in the casserole.

    Step 2

    Make the Bechamel. Melt butter over medium heat, add flour and whisk until you have a blonde roux. Add the milk about 1/4 cup at a time as you continue to stir. Thicken up the sauce as you stir and add milk. You may not need the entire 2 cups. Get a thick creamy sauce. Lower the heat and cook out the raw flour taste. Add the nutmeg, about 1/8 teaspoon to 2 cups milk. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt. Stir often.

    Step 3

    Assemble the casserole. Place the steamed cauliflower in the casserole dish. Pour the Bechamel sauce over the vegetables. Sprinkle the cheese on top of that and then spread the bread crumbs and butter cubes over that.

    Step 4

    Bake at 350 degrees until browned and crisp on top, about 25 minutes or a little more.

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