I was leafing through The Ottolenghi Cookbook a few weeks ago and kept being drawn to one photograph within the multitude of gorgeous food-porn dripping pages. It was a gratin of sorts and it played tricks with my eyes.
The gratin was actually made of fennel with a tempting crumble and a scattering of cherry tomatoes, but every time I looked I could swear I was seeing cauliflower. Weird, right? I’m sure that his recipe is utterly swoon-worthy, but I couldn’t get the cauliflower out of my mind, so I used that picture for inspiration and put together the combination that I thought I was seeing.
And my minds eye saw an autumnal or wintry dish with cauliflower florets, onions, sauteed mushrooms, and aromatic sage and garlic. Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it?
In Ottolenghi”s recipe, he topped his gratin with a crumble – a subtly sweet crumble. I wasn’t so sure how that would work with cauliflower and mushrooms.
I debated other more pedestrian toppings like italian breadcrumbs or panko, even corn flakes, but I kept coming back to his crumble. So I scaled his recipe way down and sprinkled it over the veg along with a handful of grape tomatoes.
If this is weirding you out, I completely understand. If I were just reading this description, I’d be scrunching my nose and shaking my head, “no thank you, very much”. I hope the pictures give you more of a sense of how utterly sublime this is. It’s lush and tender with flavor pops from those roasted tomatoes and earthy sage — not to mention the crumble – that feint hint of sweet makes this gratin positively indulgent. Are you sold, yet?
This Gratin is inspired by one I saw inside the Ottolenghi cookbook, but it's completely different! Makes a delicious vegetarian main course, or side dish with grilled or roasted meats.
- 3 tablespoons olive oil divided
- 8 ounces crimini mushrooms sliced
- 4 fresh sage leaves minced
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 small onion peeled and thinly sliced root to tip
- 4 cups cauliflower cut into bite sized florets
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese grated
- 1/2 cup vegetable broth
- 1/4 cup cream
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes
- 1/3 cup flour
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 tablespoons butter cut into 1/4" dice
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese grated
- 1 teaspoon freshly chopped sage
- fresh parsley chopped
- small sage leaves
- 1/4-1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In a small bowl combine the flour, sugar and butter. Use your fingertips to blend the ingredients together until they form small crumbles and holds together when you pinch some between your thumb and forefinger. Add the parmesan and sage and toss to combine. Set aside.
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and sauté until they've given up their liquid and begin to brown, 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and sage and cook for 30-40 seconds until fragrant. Remove pan from heat and cover with a tight fitting lid - to steam and soften the sage and garlic, without browning. Set aside.
In a large bowl combine the cauliflower and onions. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt and pepper and toss to coat. Add the mushrooms and parmesan cheese and toss to distribute the ingredients evenly. Transfer the vegetables into a small square or rectangular casserole dish, about 8" x 8".
Stir together the broth and cream and pour over the vegetables. Sprinkle the crumble evenly over the gratin. Cover the gratin with tin foil and bake for 45 minutes, until cauliflower and onions are very tender. Remove the foil and dot the top of the gratin with cherry tomatoes. Bake for an additional 15-20 minutes until tomatoes pop and slump.
While gratin is still warm sprinkle with parsley, a few small sage leaves and lemon zest. Serve.
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