August 1, 2016
There is a special place in my heart for cauliflower cheese. It is a comfort food that is at its best in the colder months where it maximises its potential to ward off the wintery chill. I can even remember as a child having it served as a whole head - like a giant mushy brain doused in white sauce that wouldn't have been out of place in a horror movie. I won't blame my parents for that interpretation, but whoever made it certainly left their mark.
This version makes a lot of sense. It is based on one by the British chef Mark Hix, who is a master or making simple things taste good. You use the entire cauliflower, leaves and all, and then reduce the liquid it is cooked in to make an intensely flavourful sauce. After tasting it, you will likely wonder why you ever threw the leaves away. I certainly did.
Add the chopped cauliflower to the boiling milk and simmer gently for 5 minutes. Add the leaves and simmer for 2 minutes more. Strain cauliflower using a sieve or colander reserving all of the liquid. It is important that the cauliflower is still quite form as it will be spending a little time in the oven and needs to hold its shape.