Spring is finally upon us but it will still be a bit of time before local produce is available here in abundance. So, in an effort to mix up my veggie repertoire a bit, I’ve created a light and fluffy cauliflower gratin that can be served with a salad as a light supper or as a side dish with pork chops or chicken. It’s similar enough to mashed potatoes that it makes a great lower carb substitute for spuds, too!
Puffed Cauliflower Gratin
1/2 cup (125 mL) fresh, whole wheat breadcrumbs
2 tbsp (30 mL) melted butter
2 tbsp (30 mL) finely chopped fresh parsley
1 tbsp (15 mL) shredded Asiago cheese (optional)
1 large cauliflower, about 4 lb (2 kg), trimmed
2 tbsp (30 mL) very finely chopped onion
1 tsp (5 mL) minced garlic
1/2 tsp (2 mL) dried thyme leaves
2 tbsp (30 mL) cornstarch
1 cup (250 mL) 2 % milk
3/4 cup (175 mL) shredded Asiago cheese
1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt and pepper
8 egg whites (or 1 carton liquid eggs)
Topping: Toss breadcrumbs with butter; toss with parsley and cheese. Reserve.
Gratin: Cut cauliflower into large chunks; steam for 12 to 15 minutes or until tender. Cool. Purée in batches until smooth using a food processor; transfer to a large bowl.
Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Stir onion, garlic and thyme in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat on high for 30 seconds. Whisk the milk with the cornstarch. Stir into the onion mixture. Heat on high for 2 minutes, stirring once. Stir in the cheese, salt and pepper until melted; stir into the cauliflower.
Whip egg whites in a separate bowl until soft peaks form; fold into cauliflower mixture until combined. Transfer to a greased, 8-cup (2 L) deep, round baking dish.
Sprinkle reserved topping over cauliflower mixture. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until golden and puffed. Makes 12 servings.