Breakout indie food mag Cherry Bombe has a phenomenal new cookbook out that spotlights some of the most interesting women in the food industry. Learn their favorite recipes (and the stories behind them) in this vibrant collection. This three-cheese cauliflower gratin may just outshine the main course!
Anna Weinberg, the restaurateur behind San Francisco’s Park Tavern, The Marlowe, Leo’s Oyster Bar, and The Cavalier, grew up with a mom who wasn’t the greatest in the kitchen. But young Anna did love her mother’s signature creation — cauliflower casserole. When Anna opened The Marlowe, she worked with Chef Jennifer Puccio to elevate her mother’s classic to a new level of deliciousness and this golden, buttery gratin was born. A trio of cheeses — provolone, smoked cheddar, and traditional cheddar — and a bit of Dijon mustard turn the cauliflower into a sumptuous side dish.
- kosher salt
- 4 bay leaves
- 1 1/2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns
- 1 head cauliflower, cut into large florets
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 cups shredded mixed cheeses (provolone, smoked cheddar and/or medium cheddar), plus more to finish
- freshly ground black pepper
- smoked sea salt, for finishing (optional)
For the cauliflower
Bring some salted water to a boil in a large stockpot. Add the bay leaves and peppercorns. Blanch the cauliflower florets for 4 minutes, until tender but firm. Drain and rinse under cold water. Discard the bay leaves and peppercorns and set the florets aside in a large bowl.
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Melt the butter with the Dijon mustard in a medium saucepan over low heat. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, allowing the mixture to brown slightly. Add the flour and cook, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon, for 2 minutes. Working gradually, whisk in the milk and the cream. Increase the heat to medium, bring to a boil, then remove from the heat and stir in the cheese. Pour over the cauliflower and gently toss to combine. Season with some salt and pepper.
Fill a 10-inch cast-iron skillet with the cauliflower mixture, top with additional cheese, and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the top is browned. Put a baking sheet on the rack underneath the skillet to catch any cheese that might bubble over. Remove from the oven, finish with the smoked salt, if desired, and serve.