Monday, October 24, 2011

Ginger Spiced Cauliflower Gratin

Let's talk about relationships.   I don't mean human relationships since it's somewhat of a complex domain (we'll leave that to the shrinks), but no more so than trying to figure out which spices would make a perfect marriage with whichever vegetables, meats or seafood.   For a while now, I've been experimenting with a few recipes including fresh and even ground dry ginger.  It is by far the spice I use the most in the kitchen : in savoury dishes, soups, desserts and hot drinks.  In fact, it's so versatile that it's become a commodity in most households around the world.  Its medicinal properties is known to help cleanse our bodies and improve digestion, and its hot fragrance and taste is culinarily used to enhance flavour to food.

Getting back to the topic of marriage or relationships, I think you'd agree that there's an inevitable harmony between ginger and vegetables.   For starters, most vegetables are bland and often require seasoning to bring out their true flavour.   Ginger does just that.   Using a bouquet of cauliflower, from which  I cut out its stalk and surrounding thick green leaves, I blanched and seasoned the flower heads with salt, pepper and paprika and sprinkled with finely chopped coriander and grated fresh ginger.  Cream and cheese were then poured over the flower buds for baking to give the dish a creamy texture.  The entire process takes 30 minutes at the most.  Doesn't it just hit the spot on a chilly Fall day?

Preparation : 15 minute, Baking : 15 minutes

Recipe "au pif":
1 large cauliflower, stalk and leaves removed, cut into separate flower buds, rinsed, blanched in boiling water for 5 minutes
1/2 tsp coarse sea salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/4 tsp ground paprika
1/4 grated fresh ginger
1 tbsp fresh coriander
3/4 cup heavy cream  (I used 5% thickened cooking cream, or simpy use the good 35% stuff)
handful of shredded cheese (emmental, swiss, your choice)
butter (optional)

Preheat oven at 350F

Blanch the cauliflower in boiling water for about 5 minutes.  Discard water

Display the flower buds into a large baking dish and season with salt, pepper and paprika.

Sprinkle with grated fresh ginger (tip: freeze the ginger first, it'll be easier to grate, won't be stringy) and coriander.

Pour cream evenly over the cauliflower and sprinkle the cheese.

Add small nuts of butter for richer flavour and aroma. (that's optional)

Bake for about 15 minutes or until the top is slightly golden.

Serves about 2 people if served as a main dish, or 4 people if served as a side dish.

Share and enjoy!

No comments: