6:50: So. This has turned out to be pretty much as labor-intensive as I thought it was going to be. Still, it's pretty interesting labor, in that I don't usually a) completely deconstruct a cauliflower, or b) almost-puree the core and stemlets and cook them up like couscous.
5:57: Hey, Shiv here. Biscuit is eviscerating the cauliflower at the moment; we've been marveling at how tidy and compact the structure of the vegetable is--it's almost crystalline. Which makes it beautiful to look at, and a total pain in the ass to cut up.
4:43: Every year we make sure to include a couple things we've never had before, and for the moment, that's the Gratin of Cauliflower. I'm looking forward to this -- I think that cauliflower is totally underrated and creamy, and this adds some heat from both curry and horseradish. It also happens to be a totally complicated recipe, with multiple steps of pureeing and blending and such, so we'll see how that goes.
3 heads cauliflower
4 tsp white wine vinegar
3 tbsp unsalted butter
6 tbsp minced shallots
1 bay leaf
a few sprigs of thyme, parsley
2 c heavy cream
2 tsp prepared horseradish
1/2 tsp curry powder
freshly grated nutmeg
2 c grated Swiss-ish cheese, like Comte, Emmentaler, or the Appenzeller used here
2 tbsp panko or fine bread crumbs
Remove and discard the green leaves from the cauliflower. Cut off the florets, and then cut and reserve the stems off of those. Reserve the florets. Cut away and discard the rough exterior of the core, then chop the interior of the core and the stems into small pieces and put in a food processor. (Breakdown: You should have just the florets part in a large bowl, and then the stems and inside of the core in the processor. Clear?) Pulse the processor until the contents are very finely chopped, just short of a puree.
Bring a saucepan full of water to a boil. Season with salt and 2 tsp of the vinegar. Add half the florets and blanch for two minutes. Drain and add to a large bowl. Repeat with the other half of the florets. Season the blanched florets with salt.
In the now-empty saucepan, add the butter and shallots. Over medium heat, cook for a few minutes until the shallots are translucent. Season with salt and pepper, and add the bay leaf, thyme, parsley, minced stems/core, and 2/3 c water. Cook for 5-6 minutes until most of the moisture has evaporated. Add the cream, and simmer a few more minutes. Remove from the heat, and discard the bay, parsley, and thyme.
Pour this mix back into the food processor. Add the horseradish, and blitz until mostly smooth. Add the curry powder, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Blend well. Toss the resulting puree with the florets, and transfer to a 9x13 glass dish. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or up to a day.
Preheat the oven to 450 F. Sprinkle the gratin with the cheese and breadcrumbs. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until it's bubbling and the center is warm. Remove from the oven, turn on the broiler. Brown the top of the gratin in the broiler for a minute, and serve.