Saturday, May 16, 2009

Cauliflower cheese with cherry tomatoes

Serves 2-4

Just looking for a little comfort today, something to curl up with, satisfying and enriching. I do adore the humble cauliflower, think it's a deep and rich vegetable which we often overlook in favour of trendier sprouting whatevers.

500g cauliflower florets
1 thick slice white bread
10g flat leaf parsley
25g butter
25g flour
1 tblsp smooth Dijon mustard
250ml milk
150g grated Gruyère or mature Cheddar cheese or a mixture
200g cherry tomatoes

Heat the oven to 200c/gas mark 6. Bring 10cm salted water to boil in a lidded pan. Add the cauliflower, return to boil, reduce the heat slightly, cover and boil for 6 min or until the cauliflower is just al dente, reserve 4 tblsp cooking water and drain.

Cut the crusts off the bread, tear into pieces and blitz to make crumbs. Add the parsley leaves and blitz again to chop and mix. Tip into a bowl and mix with 4 tblsp grated cheese. Melt the butter in the cauliflower pan, stir in the flour and, when dissolved into the butter, stir in the mustard and cauliflower cooking water.

Gradually beat in the milk with a wooden spoon, using a whisk if it turns lumpy. Adjust the heat so the sauce simmers. Season with salt and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 min.

Stir in the remaining cheese until melted. Mix the cauliflower into the sauce and tip into a gratin-style dish, scraping out all the sauce with a rubber spatula. Level, then scatter, the breadcrumb mixture over the top. Add the tomatoes round the edge and bake for 20 min or until the top is crusty and the tomatoes soft