I made this for tonight’s Cookbook Club. And what do you know, the girlies went wild over it!
Cauliflower with Cheddar Sauce and Rye Bread Crumbs
The Gourmet Cookbook, edited by Ruth Reichl
3 slices rye bread
3 C whole milk
1/2 stick, 4 T unsalted butter
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 T all-purpose flour
1/2 t salt
1/4 t freshly ground black pepper
2 C coarsely grated sharp Cheddar (about 6 oz)
1 1/2 medium heads cauliflower (3 pounds total), cored and cut into 2″ wide florets
1. Put a rack in middle of oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F
2. Toast bread crumbs on a baking sheet with sides until golden, about 5 minutes. Cool on sheet on a rack.
3. Bring milk just to a boil; remove from heat. Melt 2T butter in heavy saucepan over moderately low heat, add onions, and cook, stirring until softened (about 5 minutes). Reduce heat to low and stir in flour, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring for 3 minutes to make a roux. Add milk in a steady stream, whisking constantly, until sauce is smooth. Simmer, whisking occasionally for 20 minutes.
4. Add Cheddar and cook, stirring until just melted. Remove from heat, cover surface of sauce with was paper (to prevent a skin from forming), and let cool.
5. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Butter a 2 1/2-quart baking dish.
6. Cook cauliflower in a 4 to 5-quart heavy pot of boiling well-salted water until tender (about 10 minutes). With a slotted spoon, transfer cauliflower to a bowl of ice and cold water to stop the cooking, the drain well and pat dry. Transfer to buttered baking dish.
7. Melt remaining 2 T butter and toss with bread crumbs. Pour Cheddar sauce over cauliflower and sprinkle with bread crumbs. Bake until sauce is bubbling, about 15 minutes.