Crispy Goodness Cauliflower Gratin with Goat Cheese
A gratin or gratinée in French is typically a side dish served in an oven-proof casserole pan. The term comes from gratter (to grate); most of the time, these are savoury recipes with a crispy cheese and breadcrumb topping. However, there are recipes for sweet gratins as well.
Gratins are very flexible. They make great side dishes or main courses – with or without a salad. For me, including a side salad depends on whether the gratin is already filled with lots of vegetables or if it is a potato and cheese gratin that needs a lighter companion. Last fall, I posted another gratin option with brie and potato – read more here.
Cauliflower, Tomato, and Chèvre Gratin
- 1 Large Baking Dish or 4 small gratin dishes
- 1 large Head of Cauliflower
- Kosher Salt
- Freshly Ground Pepper to taste
- large pinch Aleppo Pepper or other chile flakes
- 4 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 large Red Onion cut in half lengthwise, then thinly sliced
- 1 tsp Fresh Thyme Leaves
- 5 San Marzano Tomatoes canned with their juice
- 1 tsp Coriander Seeds lightly toasted and crushed with a mortar and pestle
- 2 Eggs
- 6 oz Chèvre fresh goat cheese, softened
- 1 tbsp Fresh Chives chopped
- Preheat the oven to 450°F (230°C). Core the cauliflower and cut it into 1/2-inch thick slices; because you have cored the beast, it will break apart into florets. If any of the slices remain together, remove more core bits to make smaller individual florets. Toss the florets with 3 tablespoons of olive oil, salt, pepper and Aleppo pepper. Spread the florets on a large baking sheet. Roast for 20 minutes, then transfer the golden-brown pieces to a large bowl. Reduce oven temperature to 375°F (190°C).
- While the cauliflower bakes, oil 4 individual gratin dishes (or one 8-inch by 12-inch casserole). Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a large saucepan and add sliced onion. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, then season with salt and add the thyme leaves and crushed coriander seeds. Cook until thyme and coriander are fragrant, then add the five tomatoes, one at a time, squeezing each one as you add it to the pan, followed by the juices. (Make sure to leave some juices for the remaining tomatoes in the can!) Season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring often, over medium-low heat, for 15 minutes. Gently stir the tomato sauce into the cauliflower, divide the mixture among the gratin dishes, or spread it uniformly in the larger casserole.
- Crumble and set aside half of the goat cheese. Whisk the eggs together with the cheese's other half until smooth and creamy. Divide among the 4 gratin dishes (or pour over the cauliflower mixture in the larger baking dish) and sprinkle crumbled goat cheese on top along with the chives.
- Bake assembled ingredients 30 minutes then let sit for 5 minutes before serving.
More Cauliflower Recipes: