I’m not a picky eater, but I am a particular eater.
I enjoy fruit and chocolate, but never together (which is how these coconut butter dipped strawberries came to be).
I love poached eggs, but not super runny yolks. If you eat breakfast with me, I’ll always clarify to the server, “medium poached, like I don’t want yellow oozing everywhere when you I poke it with a fork.” I know some of you are shaking your head and saying, “but that’s the best part!
Hot coffee, never iced. Even when it’s 89 degrees at 7:00 am, and the humidity is already at 65%. To me, it doesn’t have as much flavor, aNd I can’t drink it as fast.
And cheese. Except don’t build me a cold sandwich with a cold piece of cheese. I will pick it off every single time, and have done so since I was a child. But this only applies to sandwiches.
Now warm, melted cheese… that’s where my true love resides. In just about every application, such as Hot Buffalo Cauliflower Dip…. but especially savory fontina cheese sauce that sinks into SMOKING hot whole roasted cauliflower.
With edges charred and browned, dried herbs mixed with olive oil and a little dijon mustard giving it a crust that most with associate with meat.
This is the kind of dish that wins friends. Both those who love vegetables, and those who might be convinced to try only because of the cheese.
I learned from Joy The Baker that simmering the whole head of cauliflower (basically poaching) in a “brine” before roasted partially cooks the cauliflower, so that it is cooked from the inside out. For the brine,
I used (peppercorns, olive oil, garlic, bay leaves) infuses them with initial flavor all the way through.
Now that the cauliflower is partially cooked, roasting will take care of the crispy edges, turn the core tender, and impart delicious. It’s so tender it nearly melts in your mouth.
When making cheese sauces, I like using fontina (made from cow’s milk) because it melts like a gem and is extremely versatile. Roth Cheese, from my neighbor state, Wisconsin, produce a Swedish-style Fontina. The smooth, creamy body accents the slightly tart flavor and mild, yeasty finish.
This sauce recipe evolved from the rosemary bechamel I used on cauliflower steaks at a recent dinner party, and couldn’t have been more perfect for this whole roasted version. To make it gluten-free, you’ll use brown rice flour to make the roux.
Savory. Rich. A golden, crackly masterpiece. Comfort feelings reminiscent of those I had when eating deep fried cauliflower and cheddar cheese sauce at the local watering hole with my parents when I was young. Except it’s a little more refined, quite impressive to serve, and wholesome, real food magic. Enjoy, xo.