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SOUTHERN RECIPES
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Cauliflower Au Gratin 

  • Butter for the casserole dish

  • 1/3 pound boiled ham, cut into 1/8-inch thick slices

  • (optional)

  • 6 quarts water

  • 2 TBSP salt

  • 1 head cauliflower (leaves removed), washed, cored and cut into florets 

MORNAY SAUCE:

  • 3 TBSP unsalted butter

  • 1/3-cup flour

  • 2 cups milk

  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

  • Pinch nutmeg

  • cup grated Gruyere or Swiss cheese, divided

  • 1 egg yolk 

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Butter an 8-inch casserole or gratin dish and, if desired, line bottom with ham slices.

In a large pot, bring the water and salt to a rapid boil. Add the cauliflower and boil about 10 minutes (cauliflower should remain a little crunchy). Drain in a colander and soak cauliflower in cold water to stop the cooking.

When cool, wrap the cauliflower in a towel. Press to flatten the florets into compact tiles.

Make the mornay sauce: Melt the 3 TBSP butter in a saucepan over low heat. Add the flour and whisk briskly for 2 minutes. Add the milk, whisking until sauce comes to a boil. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Add all but 1-tablespoon cheese; remove from heat and mix in egg yolk.

Spoon cauliflower into casserole dish. Cover with mornay sauce and sprinkle with remaining tablespoon cheese.

Bake until lightly browned, about 20 minutes.

Yield: 4 servings

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