Cauliflower Cheese with Crisp Parsley Breadcrumbs

9:00 pm on 22 May 2004

(Serves 4)

Ingredients - Cauliflower

  • 1 large cauliflower
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

Ingredients - Sauce

  • 1 small onion, halved
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 450ml full cream milk
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ tsp black peppercorns
  • 30g butter
  • 30g plain flour
  • 175g Caerphilly, cheddar or hard farmhouse cheese, crumbled
  • 3 tbsp double cream
  • 1 tsp English mustard

Ingredients - Parsley Breadcrumbs

  • 15g butter
  • 25g fresh white breadcrumbs
  • 2 tsp chopped parsley

Method

For the sauce, stud the onion halves with the cloves and put them into a saucepan with the milk, bay leaf and peppercorns. Bring to the boil then remove from the heat and set aside for 20 minutes to infuse.

Meanwhile, for the parsley breadcrumbs, melt the butter in a frying pan, add the crumbs and stir over a medium heat for 3 – 4 minutes until crisp and golden. Stir in some salt and pepper, tip the crumbs on to a baking tray lined with kitchen paper and keep warm.

Strain the milk through a sieve and discard the flavouring ingredients. Melt the butter in a non-stick saucepan, add the flour and cook over a medium heat for one minute. Gradually beat in the milk and bring to the boil, stirring. Simmer very gently for 10 minutes, giving it an occasional stir.

Meanwhile, cut the cone-shaped core from the centre of the cauliflower with a small sharp knife and cut the cauliflower into 5cm florets. Put 2.5cm of water and ½ teaspoon of salt into a saucepan large enough to hold the cauliflower and bring to the boil. Add the cauliflower, cover and steam for five minutes.

Remove the sauce from the heat and stir in all but a small handful of the cheese together with the cream, mustard and some seasoning to taste. Drain the cauliflower and place in a warmed shallow oval dish, then pour over the sauce and scatter with the remaining cheese. Stir the parsley into the crisp breadcrumbs, sprinkle over the top and serve.

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