I stumbled across Jamie Oliver’s recipe for the best cauliflower and broccoli cheese the other day and felt compelled to give it a go. What struck me as interesting was the method he used to make it. He incorporates the broccoli into the cheese sauce and doesn’t pre blanch the cauliflower which I always do. It takes longer in the oven, but I like the idea of one of my favourite vegetables roasting under a blanket of sauce for an hour. Adding broccoli just somehow makes it seem healthier.
* Cooks notes ~ I used a combination of Gruyere and mature Cheddar and I sprinkled some Parmesan on top of the crumbs instead of almonds. This crunchy topping totally makes this dish. The cauliflower was lovely and firm even after an hour in the oven, and I found it less watery than a pre-blanched version. I liked the broccoli, but next time I will make it without. use whatever cheese you fancy and in whatever quantities you like. I used less cheese than the recipe and it was still very tasty.
This was one of the less pretty dishes I have had to shoot in a while. The slight green colour of the sauce is not that appealing looking, so I am not sure I captured it too well. It was quite delicious so I had to share it here.
Recipe adapted from Jamie Oliver’s cauliflower and broccoli cheese:
- 50g butter
- 60g flour
- 500ml milk
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed (optional)
- 1 small head of broccoli (about 400g) - fresh or frozen, cut into florets
- 1 medium head of cauliflower (about 900g)
- 1T Dijon mustard
- pinch of nutmeg
- 70g cheese (mature Cheddar, Gruyere)
- 1/4 cup breadcrumbs mixed with a glug of olive oil
- 2 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves removed
- Pre heat your oven to 180 C
- Make a white sauce with the butter, flour and milk (adding the garlic at the beginning) and whisk until it is smooth and the flour is cooked through. Season with salt, pepper and the pinch of nutmeg.
- Stir through the Dijon mustard and add the broccoli.
- Continue to cook this for about 20 minutes and until the broccoli is softened and breaking apart (I cooked it with the lid and on a very low temperature)
- Add the cheese and allow this to melt in.
- Using a hand held blender process the broccoli and cheese sauce until smooth adding a little extra milk if necessary.
- In an appropriately sized oven proof dish, arrange the head of cauliflower which you have broken into large florets.
- Pour over the cheese sauce.
- Mix the olive oil with the bread crumbs and thyme leaves and scatter this over the top.
- Bake on the oven for 1 hour until golden brown.
- I added a small handful of grated parmesan about 10 minutes before the end. You could also add the almonds as Jamie does