Living in the Rhone-Alpes region in France can and usually means spending some real cold winters. Fortunately here, we also have a real talent to find and cook some body and heart warming recipes ! I do not have many memories of my childhood, maybe because it was a kind of special childhood, I could not really say those days were filled with happiness and innocence… Anyway, I’m completely off-topic now, let’s move back to what I wanted to share with you ! So I was saying I did not have many memories of my childhood, but I do have this memory of the caulifower and potatoes gratin my mum used to bake on cold winter days. With an extra layer of “gratiné” on top of it, because she knew it was my favorite part of this dish. This extra bit of care she gave when baking this gratin is one of the few things I can hold on to when I think of my childhood and am in need of some memories proving me that my mum did felt some love for us. And I am pretty sure this extra layer of “gratiné” was her way of loving us. I am and I have always been convinced that cooking also is loving, which might explain why I do love so much cooking for my family ! Anyway, if you are looking for a dish to warm you up from this chilling winter cold, stop searching, you’ve just found it !
Ingredients (for about 6 persons) :
One medium cauliflower
4 big potatoes
Coarse sea salt
1/4 cup (about 50g) of unsalted butter
1/3 to 1/2 cup (about 50g) of all purpose flour
2 1/2 cups (600ml) of milk
Salt and pepper
Grated Gruyère cheese (or any cheese that can be grated you have in your fridge !)
The recipe :
Peel the potatoes and cut them into big cubes. Put the potatoes cubes in a pot, add a tablespoon of coarse sea salt and cover with water. Bring the salted water to a boil, then let cook on medium heat for about 20 minutes.
Cut the cauliflower into florets, wash them. Fill a pot with water and a tablespoon of coarse sea salt then bring the water to a boil. Pour the cauliflower florets in the boiling water, lower the heat to medium and let cook for about 15 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 410°F (or 210°C).
In the meantime, prepare the Béchamel sauce : in a pot, melt the butter then add the flour and whisk both ingredients. Just keep whisking and add little by little the milk. This should prevent any lumps from forming. Bring the sauce to a boil (always whisking, the key to a pretty and lumps-free béchamel is whisking all way through the making of the sauce !) than remove the pot from the heat as soon as the sauce begins to boil. Add some salt and pepper (according to your tastes) and also some ground nutmeg and a handul of grated cheese. Mix it all in order to have a smooth béchamel. Set aside.
Drain both potatoes and cauliflower, and pour them in a gratin pan or casserole dish than pour the béchamel over. Mix all the ingredients evenly. You now only have to spread some extra grated cheese all over the dish (here is our extra love !) and put the dish in the oven and let it “gratiner” for about 15 minutes.