Cauliflower gratin with garlic and goat cheese

It’s time to put an end to some injustice. Cruciferous vegetables have gotten the short end of the culinary stick for far too long. Broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage – our cruciferous kings – are often mistreated, abused, and boiled into overcooked mush. And nobody likes overcooked mush.
With a little knowledge and a few techniques, we can redeem cauliflower back to its original deliciousness. One cup of cooked cauliflower contains 10% of your daily fiber, 75% of your daily vitamin C, and 15% of your daily folate. Cauliflower also contain glucosinolates: sulfur-containing compounds that, when broken down by chewing, release powerful isothiocyanates that trigger anti-inflammatory processes in the body. As we know, inflammation is linked to a myriad of common diseases like cancer, heart disease, obesity, and diabetes. Isothiocyanates may also help protect the walls of our blood vessels (a major defense against heart disease) and the lining of our digestive tract, resulting in better heart health and better digestion.

To celebrate this nutritional powerhouse, here’s a recipe the whole family will love. It’s creamy, steamy, and allows the flavor of cauliflower to shine like it deserves. No mush allowed. I’m serving this for dinner tonight alongside wine-poached salmon and melted leeks.

Get that mise en place. Having all your ingredients measured and ready to go is important in a fast-paced recipe like this.

Cauliflower gratin with garlic and goat cheese
Adapted from Cooking from the Farmer’s Market
Serves 4

1 medium head cauliflower
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon unsalted butter, divided
6 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup fresh goat cheese
1/2 cup fresh whole wheat bread crumbs (you should leave yours coarser than I did – more crunch!)
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon chipped fresh parsley

  1. Preheat your oven to 400F. Grease a medium-sized baking dish and set aside.
  2. Fill a stockpot fitted with a steamer halfway with water and bring to a boil. Steam the whole cauliflower head for 10 minutes, then transfer to a cutting board to cool. Cut into 8 roughly equal wedges and arrange in the baking dish. 
  3. In a saucepan over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon of butter. Add the garlic to the butter and quickly saute for 30-45 seconds. When the butter begins to bubble, remove it from the heat and whisk in the flour. Return the saucepan to the heat and gradually whisk in the milk. Reduce the heat to low, add the salt and pepper, and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has thickened. This should take about 10-15 minutes. Finally, stir in the goat cheese and allow it to slowly melt into the sauce.
  4. In a small pan, melt the remaining 1 teaspoon of butter over medium-high heat. When it sizzles, add the bread crumbs and toast to a golden brown, about 3-4 minutes.
  5. Stir the red pepper flakes into the goat cheese sauce and pour the sauce over the cauliflower. Sprinkle breadcrumbs on top. 
  6. Bake, uncovered, for about 30 minutes or until the sauce is bubbling and the cauliflower is golden brown. Sprinkle with parsley and serve immediately.