Updated: Nov 9, 2020
This side dish is so incredibly good that it can be the main dish!
If you like any kind of gratin, you will LOVE this recipe. The most classic gratin is potato, of course, a casserole of creamy and cheesy sliced potato layers. This four-color cauliflower version is even better because it has all the creaminess, cheesiness, and depth of flavor without the heaviness of potatoes. All that, plus it’s topped with panko, Parmesan, and parsley for that delicious contrasting crunch. Slicing whole heads of cauliflower into fans is a fun and elegant way to serve and eat this cruciferous vegetable, even in a casserole. Typically one head of cauliflower yields only 3-4 fans, but nothing goes to waste! Roast the fans, florets, and cauliflower crumbs. Use them all! Waste nothing. Enjoy everything!
Equipment: cutting board; chef's knife; (2) rimmed sheet pans; parchment paper; box grater; dry and wet measuring cups; measuring spoons; casserole or baking pan; foil
4 heads of cauliflower
¼ cup olive oil
1 cup panko
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon butter
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 tablespoon chopped thyme
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1½ cups shredded Gruyere
1 cup heavy cream
1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
2. In a small bowl, combine the panko, Parmesan, and parsley. Set aside.
"You can use a mix of cauliflower or just one color. It will taste out-of-this-world either way!"
2. Slice each of the four heads of cauliflower crosswise into 3-4 fans. Place the fans on a sheet pan lightly greased with olive oil and sprinkled with kosher salt. Place the remaining florets on another sheet pan lightly greased with olive oil and sprinkled with kosher salt. Roast in the oven for approximately 20 minutes or until the fans and florets are golden brown and tender when the stalks are pierced with a knife. Set aside.
3. Butter a baking or gratin dish with the tablespoon of butter. Spread the minced garlic in the dish. Place enough cauliflower fans in the dish to form a single layer and sprinkle with some of the kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, 1 teaspoon chopped thyme, and ½ cup of the Gruyere. Place all of the roasted florets on top of the grated cheese for the next layer. Sprinkle with some of the kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, 1 teaspoon chopped thyme, and ½ cup of the Gruyere. For the final layer, add the remaining cauliflower fans, kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, the final teaspoon of chopped thyme, and the remainder of the Gruyere.
4. Pour the cream evenly over the top of the cauliflower. Cover with the panko-parmesan-parsely crumbs, and bake for 10 minutes uncovered. Place foil loosely over the gratin and continue to bake for about 25-30 minutes. Remove the foil for the last five minutes of baking. Serve immediately.
Makes 8 servings.