The Best Cauliflower Cheese
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The Best Cauliflower Cheese

Cauliflower cheese. Even typing the words make me feel as if I’m being swaddled by my mum in her arms as a child. Nutty cauliflower, oozy bubbly cheese sauce and knobbly, burnt bits on the side. It’s comfort food perfection and needs no introduction. Serve it alongside a roast dinner, joint of meat or as I do – as a main with a bowl of buttery peas. Unadulterated classic Britishness.

Top tips on how to get the best Cauliflower Cheese

  • Brown your roux. Take it a little bit further than you might usually do to deepen the flavour and get some toasty notes.
  • Infuse your cheese sauce with bay leaves, garlic cloves, nutmeg, maybe even anchovies.
  • Roast your cauliflower first to reduce the moisture content and stop weird leaking water getting into your sauce.
  • Add texture by topping with flaked almonds or crispy-fried shallots…or both.
  • Use the punchiest cheddar you can find and top with a heavy dusting of extra Parmesan.
  • Don’t scrimp on the double cream or cheese. Go hard or go home. This is a Sunday comfort dish.
The Best Cauliflower Cheese

The Best Cauliflower Cheese

0 from 0 votes
Course: DinnerCuisine: BritishDifficulty: Easy
Servings

4-6

servings
Prep time

30

minutes
Cooking time

40

minutes

Serve it alongside a roast dinner, joint of meat or as I do – as a main with a bowl of buttery peas. Unadulterated classic Britishness.

Ingredients

  • 1 large cauliflower, broken into large florets

  • 1 tbsp olive oil

  • 80 g butter

  • 4 tbsp flour

  • 400 ml whole milk

  • 400 ml double cream

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 2 garlic cloves

  • 150 g extra mature cheddar

  • a good grating nutmeg

  • 50 g parmesan

  • 2 tbsp flaked almonds

Directions

  • Heat the oven to 220°C. Toss the cauliflower florets with the olive oil and a generous seasoning. Put into a baking tray, ensuring there is space between each floret so’s they have a chance to roast without sweating. Roast for around 20 minutes or until lightly charred. Turn the oven down to 180°C.
  • To make the cheese sauce first make a roux by putting the butter into a pan over a medium heat. Once the butter is foaming and melted, add the flour, constantly stirring for 3-5 minutes, or until the butter turns into a deeper, golden brown.
  • Mix the milk and cream into a jug. Turn the heat down and splash in a few tbsp of the milk/ cream mixture, whisking vigorously as you do so. It will form a thick paste and don’t worry if it looks bitty and slightly split as it will come together again eventually. Keep adding the milk/ cream mixture, a few tbsps at a time. Whisk for the entire time until you’ve poured in all of the milk/ cream and you have a smooth sauce. Add the bay leaves and garlic cloves. Simmer for 10-15 minutes, whilst still whisking gently – your ice will begin to thicken.
  • Remove your sauce from the heat, take out the bay leaves and garlic cloves, then stir through the cheddar and a good grating of nutmeg.
  • Put the cooled cauliflower florets into a large baking dish and pour over the sauce. Top with the grated parmesan and almond flakes. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the top is charred, bubbling and it looks unctuous.

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