Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Cauliflower, Leek and Fennel Gratin

Once the seasons begin to change, it's the time we think about changing our menus. Not just because we are tempted with new seasonal fruit and vegetable but because the weather often dictates what we feel like eating. That beautiful Pumpkin Tagine we enjoyed only a couple of weeks ago now seems too heavy for a 30º day and our body longs for something lighter.

Adelaide summer has started early this year and we have already had some mid to high temperatures. Salads of some kind or another will play a huge role on my menus in the next few months but i am avoiding peaking too early!!!

I've been playing around with ingredients that combine well together in a dish that you wouldn't consider too heavy at this time of year. Something light yet satisfying and this is the combination I came up with. Team this with a green salad, some lightly cooked asparagus or a dish of green beans and you have a very quick and easy meal that will satisfy the taste buds as well as the wallet.

Cauliflower, Leek and Fennel Gratin


1 cup sour cream
2 small leeks finely sliced
2 cloves garlic minced
small bulb of fennel sliced using a mandolin
1/4 cauliflower, cut into florets
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
2 cups fresh breadcrumbs
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper
2 tbls  flat leaf parsley, chopped
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup white wine
1 tbls olive oil
1 tbls butter

This made 6 little gratins but you could make just one big one.

  • Combine the breadcrumbs with the chopped parsley and 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese and set aside.
  • In a large pan heat butter and oil, add fennel, garlic and leek and continue to cook on a low heat for 5 - 10  minutes until the leek starts to brown.
  • While the leeks are cooking, either steam or microwave the florets of cauliflower until they are barely cooked. 2- 3 minutes in a steamer/25 seconds microwave.
  • Add white wine and cauliflower to leeks  and cook for 5 minutes. Add salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste. Take off the heat and mix in parsley, sour cream and remaining Parmesan.
  • Spoon this into greased dishes/pie plates and cover with a sprinkling of the reserved breadcrumbs and Parmesan mixture.
  • Cook in a preheated fan forced oven 180º/370º for approximately 25 - 30 minutes until the topping is golden. Serve immediately.

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