cauliflower & cherry tomato gratin with pangrattato

there was a request for cauliflower cheese. but there was also no way that was going to be possible. no sooner had i heard those two words, vivid, painful memories of cauliflower cheese served to me from a bain marie at the surfers paradise rsl during one of the tri-weekly 4:30pm dining experiences came flooding back…like a dream recalled. and there was no way i was prepared to return to that traumascape..not even on a psychological level through food-induced memories. so a compromise had to be made. and it was found in the gratin…with a smattering of parmesan over the top as opposed to cauliflower glued together by cheese which is too yellow for its own good, and some pouring cream as opposed to a flour based white sauce.

the other thing i did to offset the potential flashbacks and visions of a bowling club and a piano man playing show tunes to a crowd of geriatrics who crawled in at 4pm for the early bird special, was to cut and cut and cut right through the stoginess. first with some pangrattato (i adapted this recipe and added some toasted blanched almonds – they give a layer of unprecedented texture. as i kept telling my photographer – i am doing some very important things with this pangrattato and i dont think it would be going too far to say that im staging a small revolution right here and now. it was met with a non-committal nod so i will share this thought with you all, who may be more receptive.) i also tossed through some rocket at the end…which cuts through the clag, but mainly the psychological scars, nicely. the cherry tomatoes have a similar effect here. but as i was wandering the aisles of the supermarket in preparation, i happened upon some pistachios and id like to suggest that some lightly toasted pistachios strewn throughout the finished dish will elevate this from a wonderful tasting dish to a visually appealing one and with the right photographer, you will be able to create something of a chef d’oeuvre merely out of a humble cauliflower.


2 cauliflowers

2 punnets cherry tomatoes

5 cloves garlic

bunch of thyme

cayenne pepper

dried chilli flakes

200ml cream

25g butter

3 tablespoons olive oil

sea salt & pepper

couple handfuls parmesan cheese

pangrattato ingredients

2 large handfuls of torn bread (preferably sourdough, preferably stale)

150g blanched almonds

olive oil

3 crushed garlic cloves

1 dried red chilli

couple of sprigs of thyme

preheat the oven to 200 degrees. first blanch cauliflower florets in boiling salted water for 3-4 minutes. drain and place in a large mixing bowl. toss with 3 tablespoons of olive oil, 3 garlic cloves crushed, 2 cloves of garlic unpeeled, a tsp of cayenne pepper, pinch of chili flakes, some thyme leaves as well as a couple of sticks of thyme. make sure it is properly coated.

put this into an ovenproof gratin dish and add the cream and grate over some parmesan and dot with a few knobs of butter. cover with foil and put into oven for 45 minutes.

meanwhile make your pangrattato. roughly chop up your almonds, tear up bread into crumbs and crush garlic with a good pinch of salt.

in a fry pan pour a lug of olive oil. then throw in the garlic and the almonds and toast til lightly golden. then add the bread crumbs, thyme and some dried chili.

toss for 4-5 minutes until golden brown and crunchy.

after 45 minutes remove cauliflower from the oven. remove foil and place cherry tomatoes contrived-ly in and around.

give another significant and liberal grating of parmesan over the top. and put back into the oven for 15-20 minutes until golden brown on top.

there are three alternative serving suggestions here. all good…no one better than the other – either with some peppery rocket…or with the pangrattato (you’d probably want to if you made it)…or all three if you are that way inclined.


17 Responses to “cauliflower & cherry tomato gratin with pangrattato”

  1. 1 Matthieu April 18, 2010 at 5:53 pm

    my god woman, it sounds like you live with an oaf!

  2. 2 Matthieu April 18, 2010 at 5:56 pm

    to which she replies, “i can’t see, i’m in the code.”

  3. 3 Matthieu April 18, 2010 at 9:56 pm

    wonderful and just what a lad needs on these day of autumnal mentalist weather. even with the sticks, always with the sticks, for no apparent reason, there will be sticks in me dinners. bless.

    • 4 schlepseleh April 18, 2010 at 10:00 pm

      sticks to you my love, vines, sprigs, and beauty to the peoples. but if you will refuse to eat your puddings there will always be sticks. may i remind you…chocolate has no sticks.

  4. 5 JJ April 19, 2010 at 2:38 pm

    it’s the sticks, sprigs and vines that make schlepseleh’s art. and it’s the sticks, sprigs and vines that we must endure as we ascend to the greatest culinary heights.
    – edit by admins

    • 6 Matthieu April 19, 2010 at 11:53 pm

      yeah sure, eat a stick if you must but at least stick some peanut butter on it or something. don’t get dizzy up there now.

      • 7 JJ April 20, 2010 at 1:14 am

        it’s the nose bleeds that will really get you. Just remember: do not look down. It would seems as though you’re on a smooth elevator ride straight to the top. fear not, for there is no beanstalk and there are no giants up there. just some good dinner with some ‘random acts of elevator music’ along the way.

      • 8 JJ April 20, 2010 at 1:20 am

        and since wordpress won’t allow comments to your link on the previous post, i wanted to say that i genuinely enjoy your random acts of elevator music. in fact, i am listening to it now (or what was now) as i write a paper. do you listen to murcof?

  5. 9 JJ April 19, 2010 at 3:10 pm

    Also, we feasted here in New York tonight. It was quite the mix, actually. My roommate put together a soup of carrot and sweet potato and leek and all other stray vegetables that were scattered about our kitchen. She also grilled up the last of our mahi-mahi fillet.

    I offered the remaining modicum of the farro risotto with cremini and porcini mushrooms i made for dinner last night. But to cut to the point, i put together a baked artichoke (divided into halves) stuffed with leek, garlic, fresh bread crumbs, parmigiano, and for added flare (and inspired by a number of your previous posts), some pine nuts. the last of these ingredients lifted my artichoke well above it’s longstanding mediocrity. i owe this triumph to fasting at the banquet. good night australia. and hurry back jo, I want to make you dinner.

  6. 10 Germima April 19, 2010 at 11:58 pm

    OHHHHH, OMG I LUV STICKS. hockey sticks especially.

  7. 11 Matthieu April 19, 2010 at 11:59 pm

    Germima youre an idiot.

  8. 12 jo April 20, 2010 at 3:35 am

    germima happens to be my 2nd cousin, thrice removed. she’s an excitable chum, but a dab hand with a lacrosse stick and cross stich.

    she makes a simply criminal tea cake and i won’t hear a word against her!

  9. 13 FW April 21, 2010 at 11:06 pm

    is there a recipe for cauliflower ears? (or does that conjure a traumascape more orrible than early dinner from an rsl bain marie?)
    might there be any other way of producing cauliflower ears than the beating of them with sticks? (of thyme not hockey)

  10. 14 Germima April 21, 2010 at 11:14 pm

    No dearest there isnt. perhaps a trumpet would be appropriate.

  11. 15 Berry May 7, 2010 at 11:08 pm

    dearest aunt, i just made this for my supper and, though it didn’t look half as artistic as yours, it was divine. thank you.

  12. 16 jo May 7, 2010 at 11:16 pm

    oh my sweet berry!

    if there is one thing in this world that you love, it is gratin.

    and for this, i love you.

  13. 17 schlepseleh May 8, 2010 at 11:55 am

    berry you give my blog a raison d’etre. and for this, i love you. hi snow

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