Perhaps it's cliche that I read MFK Fisher's The Gastronomical Me and wanted to immerse myself in the world of food, but that's OK. Who wouldn't want to do exactly that after reading that sexy, scrumptious book? My goodness that woman could write, my mouth waters (and my heart swoons) just thinking about it.
There's one passage in particular that has had me making simple cauliflower gratins for years. I purposely don't look back at the specifics, I just count on how incredible she made cauliflower roasted with cream and Gruyere sound, swiped through with crusty bread and enjoyed with cold wine.
So here's my version, so simple, so completely gluten-free, so much better than the pasta dish I served to Nathan and John tonight (in my opinion). I threw in some arugula leaves this evening because I had them, but you wouldn't need to include them.
Serves 4 as a side or 2 as a main course
1 Tbsp. soft butter
1 head cauliflower, cored, separated into 1-inch florets
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 c. heavy cream
fresh whole nutmeg
freshly ground black pepper
1 c. freshly grated Gruyere, Parmesan, or other favorite cheese
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Smear soft butter into a tart pan. Sprinkle minced garlic across the bottom of the pan.
Bring a large pot of nicely salted water to boil. Add the cauliflower and boil for 3-5 minutes, until cauliflower is tender-crisp. Drain thoroughly in a colander, then transfer cauliflower to tart pan, distributing evenly.
Pour cream over cauliflower. Grate a bit of fresh nutmeg over the cauliflower, then sprinkle lightly with a little salt and several grinds of black pepper. Top with cheese.
Bake gratin for 40-45 minutes, until light golden brown. Remove from oven and let sit for 10 minutes. Serve warm.