For those who are not familiar with béchamel sauce and only heard this name, gratin with béchamel may sound like something quite complicated to prepare. But the reality is much more pleasant.
French white sauce Béchamel is one of the simplest sauces to prepare. And gratins made with it are just delicious. This one, with cauliflower, proves it.
Cauliflower Gratin with Bechamel Sauce
- 1 head cauliflower
- 1 ½ cups milk
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 tbsp flour
- ½ – 1 cup grated cheese (like Gruyere, I used a mixture of Gruyere and Parmesan)
- 1 cup aromatic breadcrumbs (see Tip bellow)
- Pinch of grated nutmeg
- Pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
- Black pepper
- Vegetable oil or butter for greasing the baking dish
Cut the cauliflower into florets. Cook them in salted boiling water (or steam) until almost ready: the florets should be slightly firm, and do not fall apart.
Place the florets in a greased baking dish.
Preheat oven to 375 F (190 C).
In a small saucepan, melt the butter, add flour and stir vigorously, until a butter-flower mixture is smooth.
Stir in warm milk. Bring to a boil. Stir in the spices and cheese, and cook for 2 minutes on a low heat. You should get a medium thick sauce.
Pour the sauce over the cabbage. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs over. If you wish, add more cheese on top of the gratin.
Bake for 30-45 minutes until the sauce is thick and the gratin forms slightly golden crust.
After making green skhug, red skhug, or Spanish salsa verde, I am adding pieces of bread into the empty food processor bowl to get flavorful breadcrumbs for soups, salads, gratin, pasta, and so on. Breadcrumbs can be stored in a freezer.
Cook with pleasure!