Friday, February 12, 2010

Cauliflower Gratin

The last time I was at the grocery store, I found a head of cauliflower the bigger than a basketball. I knew I was going to need a few recipes to use the whole thing. When I saw this recipe, I was definitely interested. After all, 'gratin' means there will be CHEESE. I was won over because the recipe is Deborah Madison's. Every recipe of hers that I've ever made has worked like a charm.

Our weather lately has returned to the wet wintery weather, but a cream-based gratin seemed too heavy. Instead, this tomato-based gratin with a touch of feta sounded perfect.

And it was.

Cauliflower Gratin with Tomatoes and Feta
This was a huge hit. The serving size says 4, but this easily served four people, two of whom each had two giant servings. I added spicy italian sausage, which I cooked in a touch of olive oil and beer, then sliced, to the sauce with the honey and capers. It rounded out the meal. We served this with a side salad. Serves 4.

From Deborah Madison, Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, New York: Broadway Books, 1997.

2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
5 fresh tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and diced or 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon honey
1 tablespoon capers, rinsed
4 links sausage, cooked and sliced
Salt and freshly milled pepper
1 large cauliflower, about 11/2 pounds, broken into florets
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 to 4 ounces crumbled feta
Finely chopped parsley

Preheat the broiler and lightly oil a 2-quart gratin dish.

Heat the oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, oregano, and cinnamon and cook until the onion is wilted, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, cook for 7 minutes more, then add the honey and capers and season with salt and pepper. Slide the mixture into the dish.

Meanwhile, steam the cauliflower for 5 minutes. Set it on the sauce and season with salt and pepper. Squeeze the lemon juice over the top and add the feta. Place 5 to 6 inches under the broiler until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese is beginning to brown, about 10 minutes. Garnish with the parsley and serve. (If you are assembling the gratin ahead of time, cover and bake it at 400 °F until bubbling, about 20 minutes, then brown under the broiler.)

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