My wife’s favourite accompaniment to a roast dinner or juicy steak is cauliflower cheese. She claims hers is better than mine – but (whisper it) she’s wrong! THIS is the best cauliflower cheese recipe I’ve ever tasted. It is a thing of creamy perfection, with a crunchy bite from the toasted breadcrumbs topping.
1 small cauliflower, trimmed and broken into florets
100ml dry white wine
1 bay leaf
25g butter, cut into pieces
25g plain flour
60g Extra Mature Cheddar Cheese, grated
40g Parmesan cheese, grated
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp toasted wholemeal breadcrumbs
1. Bring a large pan of water to the boil and cook the cauliflower for 6-8 mins, until tender but still firm. Drain and set aside.
2. Place the wine and bay leaf in a saucepan. Boil rapidly until the wine has reduced by half. Add the milk, butter and flour and vigorously whisk with a hand whisk until the butter has melted and the flour has combined. Continue whisking until the sauce boils and thickens. Simmer for 2 mins to cook out the rawness of the flour.
3. Remove from the heat. Mix the cheeses together and stir two-thirds into the sauce until smooth, then stir in the mustard.
4. Preheat the oven to 200C/Gas 6. Spoon a little of the sauce over the base of a shallow baking dish. Tip the cauliflower into the dish and spread out in an even layer. Spoon the remaining sauce over the top, season with black pepper, and sprinkle with the remaining cheese and scatter over the breadcrumbs.
5. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 mins until lightly browned and bubbling.
6. Meanwhile, cook the steak (I bought this beautiful ‘Grand Reserve’ Cote de Boeuf from Country Valley Foods). Heat a cast iron frying pan until smoking hot. Oil the steak with sunflower or vegetable oil. Cook the steak for 2 mins each side for medium-rare, flipping every 30 seconds. For the last 30 seconds, add a knob of butter or Kettlye’s Bone Marrow Melt (available from Fine Food Specialist) to the pan. Remove from the pan and transfer to a warm plate. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and leave to rest for a few mins.
7. Serve with big spoonfuls of the cauliflower cheese and crunchy, fluffy triple-cooked chips.