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Cauliflower isn’t so popular outside of the colder months. I wish this weren’t so, but when I see a healthy head of florets in the produce aisle I scoop them all up. They have such a delicate flavor and can be dressed  elegantly as a complement to any protein. I’ve officially added this side as a permanent member on the Thanksgiving table. This particular recipe is similar to Ina Garten’s http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/cauliflower-gratin-recipe/index.html, which I do love, but subtracts the nutmeg and amount of flour. Recipes always taste better when you put your own spin on them to make your own. I also found that a 9 1/2″ round casserole dish was better than a shallow baking dish. Gruyère is great with the cauliflower, but the sharp cheddar adds a bit of color and depth instead. Any cheeses can really be substituted to suit your palate and complete the dish. Bon appetit!

Ingredients: 1 large head cauliflower

1/2 stick unsalted butter

3 tbspoon flour (added slowly as needed)

2 c hot milk or light cream

1 c extra sharp yellow cheddar

1 c parmesan cheese, freshly grated

1/4 c Panko bread crumbs

sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, fresh Parsley

1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Boil florets in salted water for 5 minutes, drain.

2. Melt 1/4 stick butter in a saucepan. Add flour, stirring together for 2 minutes.

3. Add hot milk/cream to pan, whisk and bring to a boil.

4. Remove from heat, add a liberal pinch of salt and pepper, 1/2 of the grated cheeses and blend well. Pour 1/2 of the sauce into the casserole dish, add drained cauliflower on top, and pour the remainder of béchamel sauce over.

5. Sprinkle the bread crumbs and rest of the cheese to cover. Drizzle 1/4 stick of melted butter over top and season with additional salt, pepper, and chopped fresh parsley. Bake uncovered for 30-40 minutes or until golden and bubbling on top. et Voila!