St. Patrick's Day Gratin
The Irish flag never looked so good or tasted so cheesy!
This is the perfect side dish for any St. Patrick's Day feast, especially for all those cabbage haters. Steamed broccoli, white cauliflower, and orange cauliflower line up like the vertical stripes of the Irish flag. Bathed in a simple sauce of hot cream and Irish cheddar, these vegetables are as scrumptious as they are festive. If you prefer to roast the florets instead of steam them, you certainly can. You also can make an Irish cheddar Mornay sauce (Béchamel + cheese = Mornay) instead of simply heating cream and cheese, but then this ditty wouldn't be gluten-free...and you probably want to save all of your carb calories for Irish Soda Bread or Brown Soda Bread, am I right? Even the eating is all about technique, not torture!
Equipment: cutting board; chef's knife; steamer or Dutch oven and steamer basket; tongs; box grater; dry and wet measuring cups; small sauce pan; whisk or wooden spoon; 9x9 baking dish
2 small crowns of broccoli
1 small head of white cauliflower
1 small head of orange cauliflower
1 cup heavy cream
3 cups shredded Irish cheddar
1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
2. Trim the broccoli of the long stems and break into florets. Remove the core from the cauliflower heads and discard. Break the cauliflower into florets and set aside.
2. Fill a steamer or Dutch oven outfitted with a steamer basket with an inch of water. Place the florets on the basket surface and cover with a tight-fitting lid. Turn on the heat and simmer over low heat until the florets are just tender when pierced with a knife, about 10 minutes. Remove the lid and set aside.
3. In a small saucepan, heat the cream until simmering. Remove from the heat and stir in 2 cups of the grated Irish cheddar cheese until a smooth sauce forms. Sprinkle with kosher salt and set aside.
4. Pour a thin layer of the cheese sauce over the bottom of a 9x9 pan. Arrange the cauliflower in three even rows, from top to bottom, to resemble the Irish flag, beginning with the broccoli on the left, the white cauliflower in the middle, and the orange cauliflower on the right. Sprinkle with kosher salt.
5. Pour the remaining cheese sauce evenly over the top of the broccoli and cauliflower. Place fin the preheated oven to bake for about 15-20 minutes.
6. Remove the pan from the oven and sprinkle with the remaining cup of cheddar cheese evenly distributed across the top. Turn the oven to broil and raise the oven rack to a higher setting if necessary. Place under the broiler for 2-5. minutes, until the cheese bubbles and browns.
7. Remove from the oven and let it rest for 5 minutes to allow the cheese sauce to settle before serving.
Makes 4-8 servings.