I didn’t actually realize my love for cooking until I began having seizures (there is an up side to everything!). I was home ALL the time and sometimes things would get a tad boring, presenting me with the perfect opportunity to try my hand at cooking. My absolute favorite time to cook is when I’m trying a new recipe for the first time. There’s something thrilling about the mysterious quality the final product possesses until the moment of truth finally arrives and it’s time to taste test it!
This week, I had the opportunity to try a recipe from my new favorite cookbook “WHAT KATIE ATE on the weekend.” I highly recommend this cookbook to everyone whether you are an experienced chef or a complete novice in the kitchen!
I’m not a vegetarian, but the picture for Katie Quinn Davies’ Spiced Cauliflower Cheese with Crunchy Topping recipe looked too delicious not to try! So, Tuesday night my family and I ate like vegetarians and we LOVED it!!!! Using cauliflower as the centerpiece for this dish yields an absolutely spectacular final product! The layers of baked cheese both inside and on top of the casserole-like entrée will challenge every person sitting at your dining table to wait for your approval to “dig in.”
This recipe can also be used as a side dish! It is a much healthier alternative to something like potatoes al gratin, for example, supplying you with less starch and more greens. However, if you prepare the Spice Cauliflower as the main course, I recommend pairing it with a simple side salad and warm French baguette (sliced & buttered).
**Side note: The French baguette (baked fresh daily) from Le Pain Quotidian is my personal favorite!
These neutral sides compliment the flavor of the Cauliflower quite nicely.
So, if you’re looking to add some healthier meals to your weekly menu, eat more veggies, or you just really love cauliflower…this is the perfect recipe for you! Also, for those of you who are skeptical about the quality of flavor (or lack thereof) typically associated with healthy foods, I urge you to give this dish a try! You will be shocked at how tasty “healthy” food can be if you’re preparing it correctly! Continue scrolling down the page to see the full recipe, complete with pictures! To check out more of Katie’s recipes, click here, to visit her blog!
Spiced Cauliflower Cheese with Crunchy Topping
2 lbs 4 oz cauliflower, broken into florets (about 2 heads)
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
4 tsps black sesame seeds
4 tsps white sesame seeds
2 1/2 tbls chia seeds
sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
2 1/2 tbls olive oil
2 cups course fresh bread crumbs, mixed with a little olive oil
1 handful very finely chopped flat leaf parsley
2/3 cup shredded cheddar
5 tbls unsalted butter
4 tbls all-purpose flour
29 3/4 fl oz milk
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar
sea salt and freshly ground white pepper
Serves 2 as a main. 6 as a side.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
1. Place the cauliflower in a large saucepan of water and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 5-6 minutes or until a knife can just be inserted into the florets. Drain well and set aside to cool.
2. Place the cumin and coriander seeds in a small skillet over medium heat and fry for 1-2 minutes or until lightly toasted. Transfer to a mortar and grind to a fine powder with the pestle, then place in a medium sized baking dish along with the sesame seeds and half the chia seeds. Season with salt and pepper, then add the olive oil and cauliflower and toss to coat.
3. For the cheese sauce, melt the butter in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the flour and combine with a wooden spoon to form a thick paste. Reduce the heat to low-medium, then gradually add the milk, whisking well after each addition to incorporate and remove any lumps. Add the cheese and stir until melted and smooth, then season well and pour over the cauliflower in the baking dish.
4. Combine the bread crumbs, parsley, remaining chia seeds and 3 tablespoons of the cheese in a bowl, then scatter this mixture over the cauliflower. Top with the remaining cheese and season. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the top is golden brown and crisp. Serve hot.