Another nice winter dish, this gratin is easy to make and can be prepared in advance.
1 cup milk
1/2 cup cream (or use 1/2 and 1/2)
2 T. flour
2 T. butter
2 oz. onion (1/4 wedge)
1 small bay leaf
5 oz. grated Gruyere cheese (or use cheddar cheese if you prefer)1 large head cauliflower
Begin by making the cheese sauce to top the cauliflower.
Heat the milk and cream over medium heat to a simmer. Combine the flour and butter in a separate pan.
While the milk and cream are heating, cook the butter and flour over medium heat, whisking to combine.
When the butter and flour are simmering nicely, add the hot liquids.
Whisk steadily while all of the liquid is added.
Continue whisking until the mixture begins to simmer and any lumps are mixed smooth. Reduce the heat to a low simmer.
Poke the clove through the bay leaf into the onion quarter, then add it to the pot.
Simmer for 20 minutes, then remove the onion, clove and bay leaf. Whisk the cheese in, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Reserve.
Separate the florettes from the core of the cauliflower.
Cut the larger florettes in half so all pieces roughly the same size.
Boil in salted water until softened, but still firm.
Drain and allow to cool.
Arrange in an oven-proof gratin dish, then pour the cheese sauce over the top. At this point, you can cover the dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate if desired.
Bake at 350 F. until the sauce is bubbling and the tops of the cauliflower begin to brown.