Delia

Cauliflower with Two Cheeses and Creme Fraiche

No need to make a white sauce for this one – the beauty of half-fat crème fraîche is that you can simmer it into a creamy sauce in moments. This could be an accompanying vegetable for four, it could make a main course for two served with rice, or I like it with penne pasta – England meets Italy, sort of thing! Vegetarians might like to know that a vegetarian parmesan-style cheese is available from www.bookhamcheese.co.uk


Serves 4 as a vegetable or 2 for supper

This recipe is taken from How to Cook Book Two and Delia's Vegetarian Collection.

Cauliflower with Two Cheeses and Creme Fraiche
Ingredients
 1 medium cauliflower, separated into florets
 1½ oz (40 g) Parmesan (Parmigiano Reggiano), finely grated, plus 1 heaped tablespoon extra to finish (see recipe introduction)
 1½ oz (40 g) Gruyère, finely grated
 2 heaped tablespoons half-fat crème fraîche
 2 bay leaves, torn in half
 a little freshly grated nutmeg
 2 spring onions, very finely chopped, including the green parts
 pinch cayenne pepper
 salt and freshly milled black pepper
Equipment
You will also need an ovenproof baking dish measuring 7½ inches (19 cm) square and 2 inches (5 cm) deep.

Method

First of all place the cauliflower florets and a few of the inner leaves in a steamer with the pieces of bay leaf tucked amongst it. Pour in some boiling water from the kettle, add some freshly grated nutmeg and salt, then cover and steam the cauliflower till tender – about 12 minutes.

After this time, test the thickest parts with a skewer to see if they are tender, then remove it to the baking dish and cover with a cloth to keep warm.

Now pour 3 fl oz (75 ml) of the steaming water into a saucepan, add the crème fraîche and simmer, whisking well, until it has thickened very slightly, then add the cheeses.

Heat this gently for about 1 minute, whisking, until the cheeses have melted, then season the sauce to taste.

Now pour the sauce over the cauliflower and scatter the spring onions and remaining Parmesan over, then sprinkle with the cayenne.

Finally, place the dish under the hot grill until the cauliflower has browned and the sauce is bubbling.

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