It must be time for another cauliflower recipe. I’d been craving cauliflower and I had purchased a package of Boursin, so I was thinking a gratin should be possible. After searching recipes, I found I needed to create my own recipe using some ideas I’d found. I’d be a cauliflower innovator!
Boursin was a new item to me, one I’d found in the expensive cheeses and designer meats section in Super Target when I was looking for prosciutto recently. After doing research I realized it was like a firm cream cheese, with garlic and fine herbs. It was invented by Francois Boursin in 1957, a year that has always been special to me (wink). It sounded perfect for a gratin.
But just a cauliflower gratin wasn’t my goal; I wanted to add some roasted red peppers and some crispy bacon bits. This was going to have a depth of flavors to amaze our palates. That was my goal. I started by dicing a half pound of maple cured bacon into small pieces and frying it until it was all browned and crispy. I set the bits aside in a bowl.
Next I browned some diced red bell pepper in a tablespoon of bacon grease then set it aside in a bowl as well.
I got busy doing some other household chore and when my P.S. came home I asked him to cut up a head of cauliflower for me. He trimmed and cut it into smaller florets. I put them into a large saucepan with about an inch of water, then added three tablespoons of butter. I brought it to a boil, turned it down to medium low, and let it steam for about 5 minutes. The cauliflower was fork tender.
Using my large skillet again I added the cauliflower water and butter that I had drained from my cauliflower pan. I let it heat to bubbling then crumbled the package of Boursin into the skillet. I used a silicone scraper and stirred until it was melted and smooth. I thought it was too thick and added another ¼ cup of milk, but later regretted doing that as the final dish was a little watery. Just a little watery, not a huge problem.
To the sauce I added the cauliflower, the red peppers, and the bacon pieces. I stirred it together then layered half of the mixture into a baking dish that I’d sprayed with oil.
I layered half of the shredded smoked gouda, the rest of the cauliflower mixture, then topped it with the remaining shredded cheese.
It already smelled wonderful as I slid the dish into the oven. I let it bake for 30 minutes until it was bubbly. I wanted the top it a little more browned so I turned on the broiler and let it brown the top for a few mintues. It looked and smelled SO good!
We loved the flavors of the cheeses and the veggies together, plus the bit of maple flavor the bacon contributed. It had a well-rounded taste that might have been boring with just the cauliflower alone. The extra milk I’d added to the sauce wouldn’t have been necessary as the cauliflower brought quite a bit of moisture to the dish. You could say it sort of rained on my parade, but it wasn’t annoyingly watery. Just a little.
The lovely flavors of the Boursin and the smoked gouda were what really made the dish, and we’ll definitely make it again. It might even be good with broccoli!
1 head cauliflower; cut into florets
3 tablespoons butter
1 sweet bell pepper (red, orange or yellow)
½ pound maple smoked bacon; finely diced
5 ounce package Boursin with garlic and fine herbs
4 ounces shredded smoked gouda
Cut the cauliflower into florets and place in a large saucepan. Add water to about an inch depth and 3 tablespoons butter. Bring to a boil, then stir and cover and let steam for 5 minutes.
In a skillet, brown the bacon until crispy and remove to a dish.
Use a tablespoon of bacon drippings and sauté the chopped red pepper until lightly browned. Remove to a dish.
Drain the cauliflower, putting the liquid into the skillet and bringing it to a bubbling boil. Crumble in the Boursin and stir until melted and smooth. Add milk if necessary, but the sauce should be fairly thick.
Add the cauliflower, peppers and bacon to the sauce and stir to coat. Layer half of the mixture into a greased baking dish. Layer half of the shredded smoked gouda over the top. Cover with remaining cauliflower mixture, then top with remaining cheese.