Fresh Ideas: Broccoli, Cauliflower Gratin

Photo by Helana BrigmanServe Roasted Broccoli and Cauliflower Gratin any time comfort food is in order and you need your daily dose of vegetables. Show caption
Photo by Helana BrigmanServe Roasted Broccoli and Cauliflower Gratin any time comfort food is in order and you need your daily dose of vegetables.

About a month ago, a friend brought over a piping hot bowl of roasted vegetables in a cheesy sauce filled with fresh Parmesan, roasted garlic and all kinds of earthy flavor.

I had told him I was too busy to cook (much less eat) and turned down his offer for free food without thinking twice about what I might actually have been turning down — roasted broccoli and cauliflower covered in a hearty cheese sauce (my favorite).

Luckily for me, my friend wouldn’t take “no” for an answer and brought a bowl of Roasted Broccoli and Cauliflower Gratin straight from his kitchen. Instantly, I admitted that I had been entirely wrong: I could definitely find the time to eat this dish.

After a long day of holiday wrapping, paper grading and work, this particular gratin was the perfect kind of cold weather comfort food that my body and mind needed — not too decadent, but just decadent enough and filled with flavor.

I frequently struggle with making broccoli or cauliflower any way outside of ordinary, steamed vegetables, but this dish incorporated long-roasted garlic, buttery greens and a subtle almond taste. The key is to prepare the gratin cheese sauce with whole-wheat flour instead of all-purpose for hardier and earthier notes. In addition, almond meal made from confectioners’ sugar and slivered almonds creates a nutty sweet topping that’s unlike any gratin I’ve seen before.

Since the surprise visit, I’ve made this dish half a dozen times, experimenting with different variations. Can I add chicken, mozzarella or rice? Not really.

Each time, I always find myself returning to the original recipe with its whole wheat and almond flavors. Otherwise, it’s just not the same creamy dish.

Pair this gratin with a leafy salad or just eat it by itself. This Roasted Broccoli and Cauliflower Gratin is perfect when you have little time to cook and just a few ingredients for a piping bowl of comfort food any season.