I've made cauliflower in all sorts of ways, but every now and then I yearn for a cheesier version of a gratiné. My version is lighter without the use of a bechamel or cream. In my opinion the cheese flavor is sometimes masked within the roux. I like to use semi-soft and hard cheeses which add nice saltiness and nutty flavor. After researching different methods for melting cheese, I learned that most people use beer as their choice of liquid, but I think a dry white wine really adds depth of flavor in the background to work nicely with the aged cheeses. To give this a meaty flavor element, I also used a small amount of truffle oil, but I also think that Worcestershire would also be sufficient. —James Durazzo
Head of cauliflower broken down into flourets
Gruyere cheese (shredded using a box grater)
Aged cheddar cheese (shredded using a box grater)
Heaping tablespoon of corn starch
Unsalted chicken stock
White wine (Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, something crisp and dry)
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
Panko bread crumbs
Finely chopped parsley or chives (for garnish)
Bring a large pot of water to a rapid boil, add enough salt so that the water is salty. Add the cauliflower and cook until just tender, remove and drain. Grease an oven proof baking dish with unsalted butter, and rub the dish with the garlic halves.
In a non stick sauce pan bring the white wine, and chicken stock to a simmer. Add the corn starch to the shredded cheese and combine them all together. Add the cheeses to the white wine/chicken stock. Use the lowest possible heat on your burner.
Stir the mixture as the cheese melts, add the cayenne, salt, and black pepper to taste. Remove from heat, and add in the white truffle oil.
Layer the cauliflower in the baking dish and pour your sauce over. Sprinkle with additional cheese, and sprinkle the panko on top. (Mix the panko with a tbsp of melted unsalted butter.
Place under a low broiler for 5-7 minutes or until the top starts to brown nicely. Remove from oven, and sprinkle with finely chopped parsley or chives.