Easy Cauliflower-Cheese Bake

Easy Cauliflower-Cheese Bake

As we suddenly spend lots of isolated home time with the coronavirus everywhere, cooking and eating are one of the freedoms we still have. But to minimize public exposure at supermarkets, we’re using everything in our fridges.

Christina and I were given a slightly old cauliflower by one of our kids in Athens as they headed off to spring break camping ten days ago, back before everything changed in our lives. This evening I quickly turned it into our vegetable dish for dinner, using a simplified cauliflower gratin approach and taking advantage of items on hand.

If I had more interesting cheese available, this could have been even more special. But even using a fairly dull mild cheddar, the dish still turned out very tasty. My “breadcrumbs” were matzoh meal left over from a cooking class (Hanukah latkes in my holiday food class in December). Here’s my impromptu “Cauliflower-Cheese Bake.”

The recipe serves three to four.

1 medium head of cauliflower
1/4 pound or more cheese, grated (Gruyère or sharp cheddar preferred)
Grated nutmeg, optional
2 tablespoons dry breadcrumbs, cracker crumbs, or matzoh meal
2 tablespoons olive oil

Cut the cauliflower into small flowerets and place in a microwaveable dish, such as a glass pie plate or a small casserole. Sprinkle lightly with water and cover with a sheet of waxed paper. Heat in a microwave until cauliflower becomes crisp-tender, about 5-6 minutes, testing every two minutes.

Remove waxed paper. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste, plus optionally a little grated nutmeg. Mix well to distribute seasonings. Spread shredded cheese over the cauliflower, then breadcrumbs (etc.) and finally the olive oil.

Bake in a hot oven (375 degrees) until cheese is well melted and cauliflower browns a little on high points.

Serve hot.

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