Side Dishes/

Cauliflower Gratin

I happen to love cauliflower, so it can be prepared anyway and I'll think it's great.  I wanted a dish that even people who weren't crazy about cauliflower would love and I think that this is the one.  My guess is it's the poblano cream sauce that does the trick.  It's also a great dish to bring to a potluck dinner since you can make it ahead and it only takes about 20 minutes to finish in the oven.

Servings: 8


  • 2large (8 ounces)fresh poblano chiles, roasted, peeled, seeds discarded
  • 3pounds cauliflower cut into bite-size florets
  • 2tablespoons butter
  • 1/4cup diced shallots
  • 1tablespoon flour
  • 1 1/2cup heavy cream
  • 1/4cup gratedMexican queso anejo or other garnishing cheese such as Romano or Parmesan
  • Salt
  • Topping
  • 1/2cup panko
  • 1/2cup finely chopped almonds
  • 1tablespoon olive oil
  • 3tablespoons gratedMexican queso anejo for garnish


Preheat the oven 400 degrees. Lightly oil an 11 x 7 casserole dish.

Puree the roasted poblano in a food processor until smooth.

Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Scoop in the cauliflower florets and blanch for 4 to 5 minutes until just tender. Drain and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking. Spread onto towels and let the florets dry completely. Once dry, transfer them to a large bowl.

In a 4 quart saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Once the butter had melted, add the shallots and cook for several minutes or until the shallots have softened. Stir in the flour and continue stirring for 2 minutes to make sure that the flour has cooked. Whisk in the heavy cream slowly so you don't get lumps in your sauce. Then stir in the queso anejo and the poblano puree. Bring the mixture back to a boil and continue stirring until the sauce has thickened. Remove it from the heat, season with 1 teaspoon salt and pour over the cooked cauliflower. Using a rubber spatula, gently toss the cauliflower to coat. Scrape the mixture into the prepared casserole dish.

In a separate bowl, mix together the panko crumbs, almonds and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Sprinkle the crumb topping over the top of the cauliflower and place into the preheated oven on the center rack. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until the top has browned. Remove the casserole from the oven and sprinkle the remaining 3 tablespoons queso anejo over the top.



  1. I made this tonight for a Mexican-themed potluck, and it was a HUGE hit! The flavors were creamy, mild, and nuanced with a slight heat in the finish. People raved that they’d never had anything like it, and so many asked for the recipe. The entire casserole dish was eaten clean by the end of the first round of plating. Thanks, Chef Bayless!

  2. Wow. This was really good on day 1, but day 2 leftovers were phenomenal. I’ve been thinking about them for weeks since I made them and just bought everything to make a gigantic double batch. This is one if the very few recipes I’ll write down and return to again and again. Unbelievably delicious.

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