Cauliflower Gratin w/Bacon and Pepper Jack Cheese

So the grocery store had a BOGO coupon for 8 oz. prepackaged, cut cauliflower on sale giving me 1# of cauliflower to create with.  I decided to create a cauliflower gratin that was ooey, gooey and cheesy - oh, and it had to have bacon since I had a half pound of bacon in the refrigerator to use up.  Since I was at the grocery store already, I decided to pick up Pepper Jack cheese instead of the usual Gruyere & Parmesan suspects seen in this dish.  You could easily use a 2#-3# head of cauliflower with this, cut into florets - yet if it was closer to 3# I would double the sauce.

16 oz. cauliflower florets
1/2 lb. bacon, diced.
6 tbsp butter, divided into 4 tbsp & 2 tbsp
3 tbsp. flour
1 tsp. salt
2 c. half & half
8 oz. Pepper Jack cheese, shredded
1/2 c. bread crumbs

In a large saucepan with salty, simmering water blanch cauliflower for 3 minutes - drain.  Set aside.  Melt 2 tbsp. of butter in a microwave-safe dish, then stir in breadcrumbs - when cool, stir in 1/2 c. shredded cheese.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees - generously butter an appropriately-sized baking dish, here I used a 13" oval.

Fry bacon in a large fry pan (not non-stick) until it is crispy and has rendered most of the fat - drain and set aside.  Place pan back onto stove and melt butter over medium heat, then add flour and salt - whisking until it begins to bubble, let cook for a minute or so.  Pour in half and half, whisking until mixture begins to bubble again and thicken.  Adjust heat to low and add ALL BUT 1/2 C. SHREDDED CHEESE (this you will add to the bread crumb/butter topping).  Whisk cheese/half and half mixture until the cheese is fully melted and smooth.  Remove from heat.

Place cauliflower, bacon and sauce into a bowl and stir to combine.  Pour into baking dish then top with crumb/cheese mixture.  Place into oven and bake for 25 minutes - remove and allow to sit for ten minutes, then serve.  Allowing it to rest will help the dish to set.

1 comment:

  1. Hi there, this is a really nice post. It would be great if you linked to it in my Food on Friday series. Food on Friday – Bacon