If you’re not a fan of cauliflower, my Cauliflower Bake With Gruyere and Bacon could change your mind. There is BACON…and…CHEESE involved! Doesn’t this dish sound good already. What better way to get some more veggies into your diet? Yum!
For this dish, I made my own bread crumbs. It was easy peesy with a food processor. I had some big hoagie buns that has been sitting around for a few days so I used one to make bread crumbs. I cut the hoagie into about 2 inch chunks and threw it in the food processor. I processed the bread until it was…well…crumbly.
I used the breadcrumbs I just made and toasted them in a skillet of melted butter over medium heat. Keep your eye on these while they are cooking. I took my eye off my first batch for a bit too long and they were overdone…well, truth be told, they were burnt so I had to start over. Kitchen fail! I definitely kept my eye on them the second time around and they were a nice golden brown when I took them off the heat. These breadcrumbs tasted delicious.
If you have a few extra minutes and day old bread, make your own breadcrumbs. If you don’t, I would suggest using panko. Panko holds up well when toasted in butter and will add a nice crunch to the dish.
When I cut up the head of cauliflower, I tried to make sure all the florets were about the same size. This helps the cauliflower cook evenly. To help aid the cooking process, I blanched the cauliflower before baking. I placed the cauliflower in boiling water for 2 minutes and then transferred the cauliflower to a bowl of ice water to cool. This was to stop the cooking process. The cauliflower finished cooking when I popped it in the oven later.
While I was waiting for the water to boil (above), I fried the bacon. I was hungry so although the recipe calls for 8 slices of bacon, I cooked up the entire package and nibbled on the extra bacon slices I wouldn’t be using. Nom, nom, nom.
Honestly, I try not to nibble while cooking because it usually makes me too full to enjoy my meal but I couldn’t resist the extra bacon slices because it’s BACON! And it’s crispy goodness!
When all the bacon was done, I cut the slices into small pieces. Then, I poured the cream into a bowl and whisked in some flour. This should thicken the sauce during cooking so it’s not soupy. Then I added half the cheese (reserving the other half for the topping), the blanched cauliflower, bacon, salt and pepper and stirred it all together.
I poured the cauliflower mixture into a greased 9 by 5-inch baking dish. I sprinkled the breadcrumbs and remaining cheese on top. I popped the dish into the oven and baked it for about 35 minutes. I peeked at the dish a couple times towards the end to make sure the crumbs weren’t browning too much. If they were getting too brown, I would have put a piece of foil over the top.
After removing the dish from the oven, I let it rest only a couple minutes before I had to dig in. The cauliflower-bacon-cheesiness with the crunchiness of the bread crumbs was so yummy! I hope you give this dish a try. If you do, please let me know. Enjoy!
Cauliflower Bake With Gruyere And Bacon
- Unsalted butter or butter spray for dish
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter cut into pieces
- 1 ½ slices of day old bread crumbs or panco
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 1 ½ tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 8 strips of bacon cooked until crispy and cut into small pieces or crumbles
- 1 cup grated Gruyere divided
- 1 medium head cauliflower trimmed and cut into florets
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- Place an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter an 8 by 8-inch or 9 by 5-inch casserole dish. Set aside.
- If making homemade breadcrumbs, using a food processor, pulse bread until it looks like crumbs.
- Heat butter, over medium heat in a non-stick skillet. Add either the homemade breadcrumbs or panko to the skillet and cook while stirring. Cook the breadcrumbs until the butter is absorbed and crumbs are toasted, about 1 to 2 minutes.
- Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil over high heat. Add the cauliflower and cook for 2 minutes. Transfer the cauliflower into a bowl of ice water to cool. Wait 3 minutes. Drain the cauliflower. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the cream and flour. Add the cauliflower, bacon, 1/2 cup of the Gruyere, salt and pepper. Mix well.
- Pour the cauliflower mixture into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with the breadcrumbs and remaining 1/2 cup of cheese.
- Bake for 35 to 40 minutes until the cheese has melted and the top is golden brown. Enjoy!