This is unashamed comfort food and we ate it as a main course, although of course you can serve it as a side to meat if you like. Mixing broccoli in with the cauliflower somehow lightens the dish and the hazelnut topping adds crunch and an added dimension of flavour. I could happily scoff the whole lot single-handed.
I used hazelnuts that were already chopped and toasted. I suspect if you went to the trouble of making your own you would need fewer because they’d be more intensely flavoured, but I was feeling lazy. You may not need all of the cheese sauce – it depends on the quantities of veg you want to use/numbers of people you’re feeding.
If you’re not a vegetarian I think the hint of smoky bacon is a welcome addition, but as ever, the choice is yours.
Cauliflower and Broccoli Gratin with Toasted Hazelnuts
A large head of broccoli
An equal quantity of cauliflower, about 1/2 large one
2-3 rashers of smoked streaky bacon, cut into lardons (optional)
A double handful of breadcrumbs made from slightly stale bread
About 100g chopped, toasted hazelnuts
2 tbsp grated parmesan
For the cheese sauce:
Around 350 ml milk
40 g butter
35 g plain flour
60g Cheddar cheese, grated
60g Parmesan, grated
Salt and pepper
Pre-heat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6.
Make the cheese sauce: melt the butter in a saucepan, stir in the flour and cook gently for a minute or two. Add the milk a little at a time, stirring constantly, until the sauce is thick and glossy. You may not need all of the milk.
Season with a little salt and pepper and continue to cook gently until any floury taste has disappeared, stirring often.
Mix in the grated cheese and cook until melted and velvety. Check and adjust the seasoning and put a lid on it to stop a skin forming. Set aside somewhere warm.
Break the broccoli and cauliflower into florets and steam until almost cooked but still al dente – they’ll cook more in the oven. Drain them thoroughly. Fry the bacon lardons, if using, and stir them with the vegetables into the cheese sauce.
Spoon the mixture into a gratin dish. Mix the breadcrumbs with the hazelnuts and strew liberally across the top of the gratin, then sprinkle with the extra parmesan.
Place in the top of the oven and cook for 20-30 minutes or until the top is golden and the gratin is piping hot. We ate it with roasted cherry tomatoes.
Oh thank goodness. I get a vegbox each week and my heart always sinks when it contains, as it does this week, boring boring broccoli. Consider this dish made.
I have to admit I find naked broccoli a bit dull too (except purple sprouting) though Him Outdoors loves it. I actually prefer the stalks to the florets. Have you tried it tossed with a bit of butter with a few anchovies and garlic melted into it? Not sure if you like anchovies or not …
Yup. Sounds good to me. And I agree. Purple sprouting is a whole different kettle of anchovies.
Nice! Maybe anchovies would work for the pescatarians that walk amongst us? Like the idea of the nuts, always good on a crumble too.
Thanks, yes anchovies would work too, in moderation. I really liked the hazelnuts with this, rounded out the flavours nicely. 🙂
That looks so good. And it’s cold here again, so I need to make it now!!! Don’t you just love hazelnuts?!!
I do, Mimi, I do! Thank you, I’m glad you like it. We’ve had a warm, sunny day here today but the forecast is for more rain, boo.
This is the ONLY way I can get my picky teens to eat cauli and brocolli 🙂 I also do mine with toasted pine nuts or oat flakes. Yours looks lovely! x
Oh, I like the sound of pine nuts, that’s a great idea.Thanks, Lynn! (Would they eat it curried? The Goan Cauliflower Curry on Mrs P is a bit of a winner, if I say so myself.)
Yes, it’s yum with pine nuts 🙂 They probably would – they’d rather eat spicy than green! Cheers me dear I’ll take a look. x
There! I’m having a real Mrs. P. moment, and made this for a nice comfort dish this evening. I tried sneaking the stalk in, in discreeet batons, but no dice. ‘Im indoors claims to like his 5 a day, but I have to play the kind of tricks you play on reluctant five year olds to get some things down him.
Crikey, it’s a Mrs P extravaganza in your household this weekend, I’m deeply honoured. Was ‘Im Indoors not fooled by the blaneket of cheese sauce, then? 🙂
Only up to a point. He picked out the neat batons of stalk, which I woolfed down as he rejected them 😉
You sound like Jack Spratt and his wife! At least they didn’t go to waste. 😀
This sounds great, Linda. We’re coming out of ‘au gratin” season but I’ll be sure to prepare this once fresh broccoli and cauliflower hit the farmer’s markets, weather be damned! And what’s with the “lazy” comment? There’s absolutely nothing wrong with taking a shortcut in my book. Use the time saved constructively, like refilling your wine glass. 🙂
I like the way you think! And English weather being as unpredictable as it is, there’s always at least one day in the week when one can be forgiven for eating comfort food. 🙂