So this is the third dish I made, along with the Indonesian Ginger Chicken and Herbed Basmati Rice. Toldja it was a culturally schizophrenic meal!

I’m a late arrival to the cauliflower party. My mom didn’t serve it to us growing up, and I guess it’s kinda like the Barry Manilow of veggies ““ pretty boring and no one admits they love it, but someone’s buying it out of the produce bins. My most gratifying introduction to cauliflower came last winter after watching a Food Network Challenge in which chefs faced off making their most creative mac and cheese. Fanatic cheese-a-holics, our whole family was intrigued by Duskie Estes’ recipe, which included roasted cauliflower and bacon in addition to four kinds of cheese (one of which was truffled sheep’s milk cheese…YUM!) The dish was amazingly rich and tasty, but Matthew and I kept digging down to the bottom for the best part of all ““ the cauliflower!

Since my first real date with cauliflower involved cheese, that’s how I like it best. A gratin, this recipe paired it with gruyere and parmesan in a bechamel sauce, and then topped everything with some cheesy fresh bread crumbs. The cauliflower, which had been par-cooked before baking, had a fluffy, soft mouth feel, and the sauce was flavorful and smooth without being too rich. This time Matthew didn’t have to do any digging ““ he had a whole plate of the best part of all, and he couldn’t have been happier.

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