This cauliflower and three-cheese gratin is the ultimate comfort food and a must-have side dish
Preparation time: 1 Hour
individual cauliflower heads 8 heads
olive oil drizzle
onions 2 finely chopped
bay leaves 3
butter 4 tsp
plain flour 4 tsp
English mustard powder 1 tsp
semi-skimmed milk 1 1/2 cups
double cream 2 cups
gruyère cheese to make 2 cups grated
parmesan cheese 1 cup grated freshly
nutmeg a good grating
Preheat oven to 350 and bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Add the cauliflower heads to the pan and boil for 10 minutes. Drain well, leave to steam dry for a few minutes, before brushing the heads with 1 tbsp oil and roasting for 30 minutes. Arrange in a baking dish. Grate the gruyère and parmesan cheeses with a cheese grater.
Put the onions, bay and butter in a saucepan with a little salt, and fry gently until soft and golden. Stir in the flour with the mustard powder until no dusty bits remain, then very gradually stir in the milk to make a smooth sauce. Bubble gently for 4-5 minutes to thicken, then stir in the cream until heated through. Take off the heat, and 2/3 of the parmesan and stir until they have melted, then season with some nutmeg, white pepper and salt. Put back on a low heat if you need to, for the cheese to melt. Pour over the cauliflower heads and chill for up to two days, if you like.
Heat the oven to 350 degrees, sprinkle the gratin with the remaining parmesan and a little more nutmeg, and bake for 20 minutes until bubbling and golden on top.