Cooked cauliflower with a little bite, topped with a well-seasoned leek sauce and golden crisp breadcrumbs makes a great weekend lunch or vegetable accompaniment. Make as one large gratin if desired.
1 small, firm head of cauliflower
50 grams butter
1 leek, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/3 cup plain flour
2 cups milk
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan
50 grams butter
small handful fresh sage leaves
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
¼ cup slivered almonds, roughly chopped
Parmesan for grating
4 individual ovenproof gratin dishes
Preheat the oven to 180˚C.
Cut the cauliflower into large pieces through the stem and pull the florets apart rather than cutting through them.
Cook in boiling, salted water for 3 minutes until just tender when pierced with a skewer.
Drain well then place stalk side up on paper towels to absorb any excess water.
Sauce: Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the leek and garlic with a good pinch of salt.
Cover and cook until the leeks are very tender, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle over the flour and stir into the leeks. Take off the heat and gradually whisk in the milk to make a smooth sauce. Season well and simmer gently for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Take off the heat and stir in the Parmesan.
Topping: Melt the butter in a sauté pan and cook the sage leaves for 1 minute until crisp. This infuses the butter with sage. Remove the leaves with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add the breadcrumbs and almonds to the pan and toss to coat in the butter.
To assemble: Place the cauliflower in the gratin dishes and spoon over the sauce, letting it run down the sides of the cauliflower. Scatter with the breadcrumbs and grate over a generous amount of Parmesan and a grind of pepper.
Bake for 20 minutes until golden and the cauliflower is hot. Top with the reserved crisp sage leaves and serve immediately.