Jan’s first fieldwork was with the Kwinti Maroons of Suranam. To follow up on the records of this people she had to spend some time searching the colonial records in Holland. While she was there she fell in love with Leyden cheese, which is a Gouda cheese with cumin seeds.
My family likes my cauliflower au gratin. I thought I would switch things up by using a different cheese than Swiss emmentaler. While this is a Dutch cheese, I hope the EU has existed long enough that it will not go to war with my Bavarian Schweinsbraten.
After Dinner Note: As I expected, Jan really liked this dish.
Karl’s Roasted Cauliflower Leyden au Gratin
6 cloves garlic crushed
2 sprigs thyme
2 bay leaves
½ tsp. black pepper, fresh ground
Karl’s Leyden au Gratin Sauce
2 Tbs. butter (or olive oil)
2 Tbs. flour
2 cloves garlic, mashed
1 cup milk
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
½ lb. Liden cheese, grated, separate uses
Pinch nutmeg, fresh grated, separate uses
Pinch black pepper
Pinch Kosher salt
1. Remove the leaves and toughest part of the stem from the cauliflower, but do not break it into florets.
2. Use a pot that is close to the size of the cauliflower, but a bit deeper. Add water to cover and the garlic, thyme, bay leaves, and pepper.
3. Bring the pot to a boil and add the cauliflower upside down. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer until the cauliflower is half done, about 10 minutes.
4. Remove the cauliflower to a cutting board and let it cool until you can handle it.
Tip: The pre-cooking makes the cauliflower semi-soft and easier to cut into slices.
5. Cut the cauliflower into ¾ inch slices and lay them attractively in a shallow, Pam-ed baking dish.
Tip: Start by laying the small ends at one edge of the dish. Lay the next slices part way over the first slices. Finish with the largest slice.
6. Put the cauliflower two inches from the broiler element and set the temperature to 500º F. Broil for about 10 minutes.
7. While the cauliflower is broiling, add the butter and flour to a small pot and cook, stirring constantly, until lightly browned.
Tip: Cooking butter and flour this way is called a roux and is the base of many French sauces.
8. Add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds more.
9. Add the milk, a bit at a time, and continue stirring until the sauce has started to thicken.
10. Stir in the mustard.
11. Reserve ½ cup of the cheese and add the rest, a bit at a time, stirring constantly.
12. When the cheese is almost completely melted, add the nutmeg, pepper, and salt. Continue stirring to mix.
13. Remove the cauliflower from the oven and pour the sauce evenly over it.
14. Move the oven rack to the middle of the oven.
15. Sprinkle the rest of the grated cheese on top and return the pan to the oven.
16. Continue broiling at 500º F until the cheese is starting to brown well (about another 10 minutes).
17. Garnish with a few gratings of fresh nutmeg and serve.