Cauliflower is an incredibly versatile fall vegetable. One head can easily feed a family of four with plenty of leftovers and it is as perfect on Thanksgiving as it is on a Tuesday.
One is rich, creamy and warmed with a dash of nutmeg. The other borrows from the Mediterranean rim using heat from the aleppo pepper and the acidic zing of capers and lemon.
Watch the video where Emily also answered other holiday cooking questions including how to make to sure you time everything right for the space in your oven and get the cauliflower Thanksgiving side recipes below. Have more holiday cooking questions? Let us know in the comments. Emily will be going live on Edible Brooklyn’s Facebook page on Monday, November 21 at 6:30 p.m.
1 ½ cups milk
6 Tbsp butter, divided
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 tsp kosher salt
½ tsp white pepper
¼ tsp grated nutmeg
¼ cup freshly grated Gruyere
¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan
½ head cauliflower, cut into florets, blanched and shocked
1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
Heat the oven to 375°F.
Heat the milk in a small saucepan until it is steaming.
Meanwhile, make the roux. Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a second saucepan over low heat. Add the flour, stirring constantly for 2 minutes, being careful that the mixture does not brown. You are making a bechamel sauce and, classically speaking, it is served bright white.
Slowly whisk in the hot milk into the roux until the milk has been incorporated into the mixture. Change to a wooden spoon and stir until the sauce comes to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring constantly, for 1-2 minutes, until it thickens. Remove from heat and add salt, white pepper, nutmeg, Gruyere, and Parmesan. Taste for seasoning (if it tastes bland, your gratin will taste bland).
Pour half of the sauce on the bottom of a baking dish. Place the drained cauliflower on top and then pour over the rest of the sauce.
Melt the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter and evenly combine with the panko in a small bowl. Sprinkle the buttery panko over the top. Bake for 15-20 minutes, depending on the size of the dish, until the top is browned. Finish in broiler if necessary. Serve warm.
1/2 head cauliflower, cut into bite-sized florets
1/3 cup quality olive oil
1/4 cup pickled capers (not salt-packed)
Zest & Juice from 1 lemon, kept separate
1 Tbsp kosher salt, plus more as needed
1 Tbsp aleppo pepper
1/2 cup fresh parsley
Heat the oven to 375ºF.
In a large bowl, use your hands to toss together the cauliflower, olive oil, capers, half the lemon zest, salt and the aleppo. Dump out onto a half sheet tray and smooth into a single layer. Reserve the bowl.
Roast for 15 minutes, rotating halfway through. The cauliflower should be tender and starting to get well-toasted on the edges.
When you are happy with its doneness, remove the pan from the oven and scrape the medley back into the bowl. Use a spoon or a spatula to toss in the remaining lemon zest, all of the lemon juice and the parsley. Give a taste and add more salt if necessary.
Can be served hot, warm or at room temperature.