Everyone, please meet my go-to. You all have a go-to, right? Let’s first discuss what constitutes as a go-to….Well, it’s usually one of those super easy, simple meals that you know will be a crowd pleaser. And best of all, a go-to is something you can make sans recipe and probably, if your life depended on it, with your eyes closed and one hand tied behind your back.
You see, me and this dish have a history. A long history that first started with me making it as a side dish to a roast lamb on Easter. (This dish won against the lamb, by the way.) And then it made a dinner at a pot luck dinner with some supper club friends. And then I served it to some friends along side a salad for a light, vegetarian dinner.
And so many other times that’d I bore you if I told you all of them. This dish is great for many reasons, but I was initially smitten with it because I found out I could make it the night before and bake it off when I needed it.
It’s a flexible dish that can act like the main performance or step back and be cute side-kick to something more impressive. It has no ego. And since it’s full of cheese, it feels great in the winter. It’s also a great left-overs meal, and this is a person not too keen on eating the same meal over and over again, but with this dish it seems like all I want to do is make and repeat.
Cauliflower and Brussels Sprout Gratin
Adapted from Ina Garten from Barefoot In Paris
3/4 head of cauliflower, cut into large florets
3/4 lb of brussels sprouts, trimmed, and quartered lengthwise through core
1 teaspoon of kosher salt
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, divided
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups hot milk
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
a pinch of grated nutmeg
3/4 cup grated Gruyere cheese, divided
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup fresh bread crumbs
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Prepare a large bowl filled with ice water and ice. Cook the cauliflower florets in a large pot of boiling salted water for 5 to 6 minutes, until tender but still firm. Drain. Throw the cooked cauliflower into the bowl of ice water to stop them from cooking any further. Bring the pot back up to a boil and put in the quartered brussels sprouts and cook for 3-4 minutes. The cauliflower should be completely cooled. Drain them and set aside. After the brussels sprouts are done, throw them in the bowl of ice water and ice.
Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. Add the flour, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon for 2 minutes. Pour the hot milk into the butter-flour mixture and stir until it comes to a boil. Boil, whisking constantly, for 1 minute, or until thickened. Off the heat, add 1 teaspoon of salt, the pepper, nutmeg, 1/2 cup of the Gruyere, and the Parmesan.
Pour 1/3 of the sauce on the bottom of an 8 by 11 by 2-inch baking dish. Place the drained cauliflower and brussels sprouts on top and then spread the rest of the sauce evenly on top. Combine the bread crumbs with the remaining 1/4 cup of Gruyere and sprinkle on top. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and drizzle over the gratin. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the top is browned.