I always get so caught up in trying new recipes and new flavours, that I really enjoy going back to the basics, which is exactly what this meal is all about that. It’s so easy to make and it’s a real Autumn & Winter classic: cauliflower in the oven with béchamel sauce and grated cheese. The best way to eat this is with some pan fried sausages (Clonakilty is the way to go!) and boiled potatoes. You barely need any ingredients and all the ones we do need are very basic: cauliflower, cheese, butter, flour, milk and nutmeg.
I used to eat this meal quite a lot back in Belgium but I must confess I hadn’t eaten cauliflower since moving to Ireland (or boiled potatoes for that matter, weird, right?). But since I rediscovered I have become absolutely nuts over this meal and I’ve had it every single week since! Now when it comes to picking out the cheese for this recipe I decided to go for Emmental, a yellow, medium-hard Swiss cheese that originated in the area around Emmental, Canton Bern. It’s not as common here in Ireland as it was in Belgium where it’s the most common grated cheese, but in Ireland there’s another clear favorite: cheddar. Since it had been so long since I enjoyed Emmental I decided to just buy it and grate it myself and i’m glad I did because cheddar would not have given it that same special finishing touch.
Most people might think that there aren’t a lot of health benefits to gain from eating cauliflower but luckily there are a few to be found. For starters it’s naturally high in both fiber and B-vitamins but it also contains antioxidants and phytonutrients that can protect against cancer, potassium, choline that is essential for learning and memory as well as many other important nutrients.
Medical News Today: “Many studies have suggested that increasing consumption of plant foods like cauliflower decreases the risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and overall mortality while promoting a healthy complexion, increased energy, and overall lower weight. Choline is a very important and versatile “vitamin-like factor” in cauliflower that helps with sleep, muscle movement, learning and memory. Choline also helps to maintain the structure of cellular membranes, aids in the transmission of nerve impulses, assists in the absorption of fat and reduces chronic inflammation.” But it also has detoxifying benefits as it contains a phytonutrient that, along with sulforaphane, helps in activating and regulating the function of detoxifying enzymes.
Now enough science & health talk: let’s get cooking!
Serves: 4 people
- 1 cauliflower
- 500ml béchamel sauce made with Kerrygold butter
- grated Emmental cheese (or grate it yourself)
- teaspoon of nutmeg
- fresh parsley
Remove the green leaves from the cauliflower, remove the inner stem and cut off the florets. Boil some water in a deep pot and add the florets. Boil for about 15 minutes and set aside.
Make your béchamel sauce as shown in my previous recipe.
Put all the cauliflower florets in a casserole and spread the sauce on top. Grate the cheese all over, just sprinkle a bit of nutmeg on top and pop in the oven at 180° for another 15 minutes. Sprinkle some fresh parsley as a finishing touch and serve with some boiled potatoes and pan fried sausages!