Recipe: 'Cauliflower-Bacon Gratin' (2024)

Recipe: 'Cauliflower-Bacon Gratin' (1)

Alan Richardson

Around My French Table: More Than 300 Recipes from My Home to Yours
By Dorie Greenspan
Hardcover, 544 pages
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
List price: $40

If the French celebrated Thanksgiving, I'm sure they'd find a place at the table for this gratin. Simply made, appealingly rustic and very tasty, it can sit alongside a main course or, with a little salad (and maybe even some cranberry sauce), take the stage alone for brunch, lunch or supper. The recipe was given to me more than twenty-five years ago, and after making it the first time, I wrote in the margin that it was a little like a quiche (it's really only the addition of flour that sets it apart from a quiche filling) and in some ways like a pudding, in that it's rich, soft and creamy. It's a classic -- it was popular when it was first passed along to me, and it's a recipe that's still treasured today.

Makes about 10 side-dish servings or 5 main-course servings


1 cauliflower

1/4 pound bacon, cut crosswise into slender strips

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

Recipe Tips


The gratin is best just from the oven or warm, but like a quiche, it can be enjoyed at room temperature. Serve it alongside anything roasted -- it's nice with something a little rich like a roast -- or have it with a salad and call it supper.


You really should eat the gratin the day it is made, but if you've got leftovers, cover and refrigerate them, then let them come to room temperature or warm them briefly and gently in the oven or microwave.

Bonne idee

You can replace the bacon with cubes of ham. You can certainly add herbs or spices to the mix -- thyme is good, but so is curry. And you can add a companion vegetable -- quickly sauteed onions come to mind, but there's no reason not to have the cauliflower share the stage with its more colorful cousin, broccoli.

5 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 cup heavy cream

2/3 cup whole milk

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Freshly grated nutmeg

3 ounces Gruyere (you can use Emmenthal, or even Swiss in a pinch), grated


Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper. Generously butter an oven-going pan that holds about 2 1/2 quarts. (It's not elegant and it's a tad too big, but a 9-by-13-inch Pyrex pan is fine.) Put the dish on the baking sheet.

Put a large pot of salted water on to boil. Pull or cut the florets from the cauliflower, leaving about an inch or so of stem. Drop the florets into the boiling water and cook for 10 minutes. Drain, rinse the cauliflower under cold running water to cool it down, and pat it dry. (Alternatively, you can steam the florets over salted water. When they're fork-tender, drain and pat dry.)

While the cauliflower is cooking, toss the bacon strips into a heavy skillet, put the skillet over medium heat, and cook just until the bacon is browned but not crisp. Drain and pat dry.

Spread the cauliflower out in the buttered pan, and scatter over the bacon bits.

Put the flour in a bowl and gradually whisk in the eggs. When the flour and eggs are blended, whisk in the cream and milk. Season the mixture with salt, pepper and nutmeg, and stir in about two thirds of the cheese. Pour the mixture over the cauliflower, shake the pan a little so that the liquid settles between the florets, and scatter over the remaining cheese.

Bake the gratin for about 25 minutes, or until it is puffed and golden and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. If the top isn't as brown as you'd like it to be, run it under the broiler for a couple of minutes.

Excerpted from Around My French Table: More Than 300 Recipes from My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan. Copyright 2010 by Dorie Greenspan. Excerpted by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

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Recipe: 'Cauliflower-Bacon Gratin' (2024)


Why is my cauliflower gratin watery? ›

If your cauliflower gratin is watery, you might have overcooked the cauliflower florets in the steamer. Make sure that they're steamed until just tender. After steaming, drain the cauliflower well before stirring it into the cheese mixture.

How do you keep cauliflower cheese from getting watery? ›

To stop it going too watery, make sure you don't overcook the cauliflower and drain it really well.

How do you fix watery gratin? ›

Try letting the dish rest for 10 minutes or so to let the water get absorbed and let the sauce thicken. Try cooking your recipe longer. Try uncovering the dish in the oven for the last 10 minutes or so.

How do you get the liquid out of cauliflower? ›

The trick with cauliflower is: Don't cook it till is too soft. just 4 or 5 minutes but taste to be sure. then drain into a colander, (sieve with big holes) and leave to drain for a few minutes, asking every minute. tap dry with a little kitchen paper or a clean tea towel.

How do you fix watery cheese sauce? ›

You can thicken cheese sauce further by adding more flour or even using a couple of teaspoons of cornstarch. In a small bowl, dissolve the cornstarch or flour with a cup of water. The cold water will create a slurry. Stir the slurry into the cheese sauce over medium heat, and let the sauce boil and thicken.

What will adding lemon juice to the water for cooking cauliflower do? ›

Cauliflower should be cooked quartered, or cut into florets at the base of the stem. In kitchen lore, lemon juice, milk, flour and vinegar have all been recommended as additions to cauliflower cooking water, presumably to keep it white.

Why can't you reheat cauliflower cheese? ›

Can you reheat cauliflower cheese? Yes you can, and it will taste fine… But just be aware that it will dry out a little and the cauliflower will be a little bit softer… not a deal breaker, but definitely not as good as fresh! Simply place any leftover cauliflower in a lidded container and refrigerate.

Why is my gratin watery? ›

It's probably just differences in the type of potato - some are wetter than others and it changes with the seasons. Do you cover it when you bake it? I would use double cream rather than milk if you want it thicker, or bake it for longer to burn off the liquid.

Why did my scalloped potatoes get watery? ›

Watery scalloped potatoes are not good, and is often caused by using the wrong type of potato. This recipe requires starchy potatoes, such as russets or Yukon golds, not waxy potatoes. Another cause is washing or holding the sliced potatoes in water (as outlined in the question above).

Why is my potato gratin runny? ›

My sauce is watery

If you used a pre-prepped potato from the refrigerator section instead of slicing your own, they can have preservatives that make them a bit watery. If you stored your potatoes in water to prevent discoloring, be sure to drain them well and pat them dry before adding to your casserole.

Why is my veggie bake watery? ›

Prep Vegetables Ahead Of Time

What we mean is that vegetables are one of the biggest culprits when it comes to watery casseroles. That's because vegetables naturally contain a lot of water in their raw form.


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