I used to absolutely loathe cauliflower especially as in school it was always cooked to death and tasted like the devil’s food; I couldn’t even muster cauliflower cheese for Christ’s sake. While I still can’t stomach overcooked cauliflower, I can’t get enough of cauliflower cheese. There is really no need to parboil or boil the cauliflower before baking the dish like I’ve seen on so many recipes. Why bother with an extra unnecessary step?
My cheese of choice has to be proper British extra mature cheddar cheese; none of that faux cheddar though that gives this underrated cheese such a bad rep. You can of course use any cheese you like; you can even go cray-cray and use goats cheese if that’s your thang. It’s also good with Stilton but where I live (out of the UK) Stilton is rather expensive to be made into this dish.
This is the classic version of Cauliflower Cheese but it can easily be taken to new and exciting heights without much creativity. Add bacon for example; what doesn’t taste better without bacon?! Unless you follow a plant-based diet of course!
1 medium-sized cauliflower, cut into florets
60g unsalted butter
60g plain flour
1l cold milk
150g grated extra mature British cheddar (or any cheese you like)
1tsp grated nutmeg
Salt & pepper, to taste
1 spring onion, diced (optional)
1 First you need to make a cheese sauce by melting the butter in a pan and adding the flour until it comes together into a sort of paste (or a roux, if you will). Fry this paste for a bit to ensure the flour is no longer raw and then cold milk and continue to stir until it becomes thick. Tip: You don’t need to constantly stir until your hand falls off; just make sure you stir every now and again to make sure it doesn’t burn. 2 Add most of the cheese (save some for the top later on) and melt into the sauce and then season with salt, pepper & nutmeg. 3 Transfer the cauliflower florets to an ovenproof dish and completely cover with the cheese sauce. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese and bake in the oven for 25 minutes or until golden brown. 4 Optionally you can sprinkle with some spring onion once finished baking to add colour and a pop of flavour but it’s not completely necessary or classic. It also contributes towards another one of your five a day.