Source: Chris Borges, Taste Catering.
This dish was prepared for CUESA's Market to Table program on November 21, 2009.
The best way to do this is to use a casserole dish that fits inside a roasting pan. After you put roasting pan with casserole dish in the oven, add enough hot water to the roasting pan to come about halfway up on the casserole.
½ stick unsalted butter, plus more for greasing the casserole dish
1¼ cups breadcrumbs (also delicious with panko-style breadcrumbs)
2 heads cauliflower
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 to 3 ½ cups heavy cream
1 cup milk
1 egg yolk
6 tablespoons shallots, minced
2 tablespoons Italian parsley, chopped
4 ounces hard cow’s milk cheese, grated (today we are using Mimolette cheese)
3 ounces soft sheep’s milk cheese, grated (today we are using Cave-Aged Marisa cheese)
Salt and pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 450º. Remove eggs and egg yolk from refrigerator and let come to room temperature. Melt butter in a sauté pan and add breadcrumbs. Stir to combine, remove from pan and let cool. Set aside.
- Cut the cauliflower heads into 8 wedges (reserve the leaves), keeping the core intact so that the florets do not fall apart. Brush wedges with olive oil and roast until the cauliflower is caramelized on the edges and slightly tender on the inside. When cool enough to handle, cut the cores from each head, combine the reserved leaves with the cores and set aside. Cut the rest of the cauliflower into smaller florets, set aside.
- Turn oven down to 375º. Heat 3 cups of the cream and the milk together in a sauce pan and add the reserved cauliflower core and leaves. Simmer for 30 minutes to extract all the cauliflower flavor and strain into a 4-cup measuring cup; if necessary add remaining cream to measuring cup until you have 4 cups total. Set aside.
- Place eggs and egg yolks in a stainless steel bowl. Slowly drizzle in warm cream mixture, whisking constantly. Do this very slowly so you do not end up with scrambled eggs. In a separate bowl, combine cauliflower florets, shallots, parsley and both cheeses and toss together. Season with salt and pepper. Butter a casserole dish and add cauliflower mixture. Pour egg mixture over the top of cauliflower and cover with foil. Bake in a water bath* approximately 30 minutes. Remove foil and put buttered breadcrumbs over the top. Return to oven and bake approximately 15 more minutes, until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean and the breadcrumbs are nicely browned. If the breadcrumbs brown too quickly, put the foil back on. Remove from oven and serve warm.
Photo by Barry Jan