I am debating whether to change the title of this post to Purple Cauliflower and Potato Gratin – Deliciously Cheesy But Not Quite Worth My Finger. Or maybe I should post about sharp blade based kitchen accidents instead? Yikes! You see, this past Wednesday, our area was hit by the “snowquester”, the last (only?) big snow of the season. It was predicted to be as big as “snowmageddon” that hit back in 2010 (now that was a snow storm!). Not even close, but still enough to keep me in for the day. What a day to make something super creamy and cheesy, right? I decided I wanted a potato gratin and (inspired by my soon to come furlough notice) decided I would toss in some not quite fresh but not yet spoiled purple cauliflower. What a pretty color contrast!
Unfortunately another color almost got mixed in: red. Even with caution, kitchen accidents happen. Mandolin slicers are perfect for getting uniform potato slices. They are also quite wicked when they come in contact with your finger(s)! Ow, is an understatement to say the least. Luckily I only lost a little chunk off the tip of my index finger. After a few hours of applied pressure, though, I was able to finish my giant dish of cheesy, creamy comfort food for dinner.
Like I said, this dish is pretty darn delicious…but it’s not worth your finger! Have a care, my friends!
Purple Cauliflower and Potato Gratin
- 1 head purple cauliflower cut into florets, appx 1 pound
- 2 large potatoes, peeled and sliced into thin rounds, appx 2 pounds
- 1 shallot, diced or minced finely
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 6 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups whole milk
- 2 cups divided shredded cheese, such as extra-sharp Cheddar, Parmesan, or Gruyere
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 cup bread crumbs
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus additional for greasing dish
- kosher salt and black pepper
- Preheat oven to 375° Fahrenheit. Grease baking dish with olive oil and set aside.
- Melt 2 tablespoons butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large pan over medium high heat. Sauté shallot and garlic until fragrant.
- Add potatoes. Cook potatoes for about 3-4 minutes, then flip and cook another 3-4 minutes. This step helps get the potatoes cooking and infuses them with flavor. Remove from pan and set aside.
- If needed, add additional butter to the pan. When melted, add cauliflower florets and cook until begin to brown. Remove from pan and set aside.
- Melt 4 tablespoons of butter over medium heat then whisk in flour. Cook, stirring, for 2-3 minutes.
- Slowly whisk milk with the roux. Bring to a low boil then reduce heat. Allow to sauce to simmer and thicken, about 8 minutes.
- When sauce has thickened, season with nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Begin to whisk in 1 ½ cups grated cheese, continuing until cheese is melted. Remove from heat.
- Cover bottom of baking dish with some of the cheese sauce. Layer potatoes, followed by cauliflower, and grated cheese. Repeat until all ingredients have been utilized.
- In a small bowl, mix bread crumbs with parsley, 1 tablespoon olive oil. Season the breadcrumb topping with salt and pepper. Sprinkle over the cauliflower and potatoes and bake until golden brown and bubbling, 25-30 minutes.