Monday, June 27, 2011

Cauliflower Gratin

As we know from earlier blog postings, I like cauliflower. Not everyone shares my love and that's a shame. One who is not shy with her cauliflower affections is Dorie Greenspan. If you're not familiar with her excellent cookbook work or her website, I highly suggest you visit. Her latest posting is a Cauliflower Gratin. With bacon. And cheese. You know what's coming next.

orange cauliflower

This is the cauliflower I purchased. It is an orange cauliflower. I didn't buy it because it was orange, I bought it because it was on sale for over a dollar less than the normal white cauliflower. Why did they develop an orange cauliflower? Apparently we can blame Canada for that. An orange breed of cauliflower was discovered in a Canadian marsh and the smart Canadians realized that Americans, being the doofuses that we are, would just love to have orange cauliflower for dinner. It was like striking orange gold for those wily Canucks. There's also a purple cauliflower. I don't know if the Canadians had anything to do with that variety. If the scientists combine the two into some freaky purple and orange combination then I'll know they are just messing with us.

cauliflower gratin

Back to Dorie's recipe. She's not only making a gratin but she's expanding her use of a Bram, which is a large clay baker. I do not have a Bram but I do have a clay baker I bought for five bucks at an antique store. The clay baker was not an antique but for five bucks I didn't care. The two major differences between Dorie's Bram and my clay baker is that her Bram is large and upright and more importantly is glazed inside. I mention the glazing because much like a wok imparting a flavor of wok hei on your food, so will a an unglazed clay baker impart a flavor (let's call it clay bak-hei) on food.

cauliflower gratin1

Still it's bacon, cheese and cream oozing throughout tender chunks of cauliflower. What's not to like?

11 comments:

Dani said...

Cauliflower is one of my faves to grow in the garden!
I've got seeds for the purple kind if you'd like to try them next spring.

MakingSpace said...

OMG. That looks insanely delicious. Must put it on the menu.

Big Shamu said...

Sure, why not Dani. Hopefully the squirrels won't know what to do with it.

Yes, MS, you'd like this. I'm sure you can do it in a regular casserole dish, as a matter of fact I think Dorie's original recipe was not in a Bram, so check out her website.

MakingSpace said...

Will do. I don't have a clay baker, but I do have a really nice casserole dish that would work.

froggy said...

When I was but a wee Canadian child I sent the entire kindergarten staff into a collective panic because I went and hid in the swamp next to the school. I remember lots of skunk cabbage. It is advised to be very careful when consuming skunk cabbage.
Orange califlower, otoh, looks delish!

Big Shamu said...

And why did you go hide in a swamp full of skunk cabbage?

By the way, Skunk chou will be a Quickfire Ingredient on the next season of Top Chef.

froggy said...

This was a private kgarten (Canada did not have public kgarten at the time) and it was a poor one. Our art project was licking and sticking those fundraising Christmas stamps on white paper. I protest-th! Parents removed me shortly thereafter.

Ooooo! That could be a whole potentially poisonous food challenge. Those funny fish, rattlesnake...

Oxford said...

I have been reading your food blog and have really enjoyed it. As a fellow foodie, I have a blog about my quest for the ultimate hamburger, I wanted to share this link and project that I have been following as I think they have an very interesting idea for a short film that will appeal to foodies.

A team of documentary short film makers is making a film about the regional foods which are disappearing from our grocery store shelves. Once, the grocery store reflected the foods and culinary heritage of each region of our country. There was a time that Coors beer was not sold east of the Mississippi River, and Moon Pies only existed in the South. Small regional food companies are being bumped from the store shelves, and we are losing these food traditions.

These are those foods that maybe your grandparents had in their pantry and you refused to eat. Things (and these are real) like mudfish in a jar, sauerkraut juice, and canned snake. They are looking for input on regional foods in your area, like those strange food items on the top shelf that you have no idea how they are used or what to cook with them.

The film will include calling the makers of these unique foods and learning the history and reason behind why mudfish is available in a jar. Then they will have a big food tasting offering volunteers the chance to taste these items and give their feedback.
I hope you can suggest possible regional foods or ask your readers. You can learn more about the project on their website http://www.indiegogo.com/10MinuteFilms

chickory said...

agreed. you throw enough butter cheese and bacon at something its gonna be good. if there is one thing i learned from top chef: bacon always wins.

Susan said...

stop the cream, cheese, bacon madness !! S-t-o-p !!! actually I really love cauliflower as well but it's currently near 4.00 a head in our village grocery store.

And blaming the orange on useh ??? I don't think so ...
xo Susan

Big Shamu said...

Chickory...it's the American Way.

Susan, c'mon now, I'm more fond of the roasted cauliflower because it's so simple and satisfying but really considering that I made a fourth of Dorie's recipe and the fact that the dish is not overloaded with those wonderful ingredients, I think we're ok. As for the orangeness of the cauliflower, inquiries are being made...