The Millennial Chef

Creamed Cauliflower

This recipe is very near and dear to my heart. It's my Grandmom Margot's recipe and she first introduced this to me when I was in my teens. I remember thinking, "Wow, this is the best thing I've ever tasted in my life". And I still feel the same way. It's an elegant dish that combines complexity, decadence and warmth. I remember when she showed me how to do this for the first time and it was much easier than I anticipated. She, of course, made it perfectly, as she does with all of her dishes. The best part about my Grandmom's cooking is the simplicity of it. It's executed perfectly every time. Creamed Cauliflower is a side dish that's unexpected, delicious, and will make its way on your Holiday table every year moving forward!

Ingredients-

2 heads of cauliflower, cut into florets

Kosher salt

4 tablespoons of unsalted butter

4 tablespoons of flour

3 cups of heavy cream (or half and half or whole milk)

1 teaspoon of nutmeg

Black pepper

Fresh tarragon (or thyme)

Serving Size- 6

Directions-

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt it generously, about 1-2 tablespoons. Cut your cauliflower into bite-sized florets. Easiest way is to remove the stem and then break it apart with your hands into small florets. Add the cauliflower florets to the salted, boiling water. Cook for about 10-12 minutes, or until tender, but not falling apart.
  2. While the cauliflower is boiling, make your béchamel sauce. Béchamel is simply butter, flour and milk. It's the start to a mac-n-cheese sauce, any creamed vegetable dish, and it's one of those sauces you need to master. It's a game changer in cooking! So, start by making your roux, which is the thickening agent in this sauce. Melt 4 tablespoons of butter in a sauce pan. Then, sprinkle in 4 tablespoons of flour, and whisk together on medium heat. Cook this for about 1-2 minutes, or until the raw flour taste is cooked out. Then, slowly add in 3 cups of milk, cream, whatever you have (I use heavy cream for this because why the hell not), and whisk, whisk, whisk! Bring to high heat and continue whisking until the mixture gets thick. This will take about 4-5 minutes. Season with 1 teaspoon of salt, pepper, of nutmeg, and fresh tarragon. Your sauce should be thick here. It will thin out when you add the cauliflower to the pan, because there will be moisture attached to the veggie.
  3. When your cauliflower is cooked to your liking, add it directly into your béchamel sauce. Combine everything together until every piece of cauliflower is coated in your sauce. Taste for seasonings. Garnish with fresh tarragon and enjoy!!

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