I find this cauliflower gratin makes a perfect midweek dinner. It’s real comfort food; tasty and old-school in the best possible sense. I tend to adapt a lot of recipes from my family archives, and this is one of my mother’s that she made with ham, that I have left out in my version. But if you feel the need for some meat, I recommend serving the gratin with slices of good-quality ham.
Cut the cauliflower into chunks and cook in the water for about 5 minutes, then drain, reserving the water. Set both aside. Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas mark 6.
Melt the butter in a saucepan, add the flour and stir into a smooth roux. Add the reserved cauliflower cooking water a little at a time, stirring after each addition to remove any lumps.
Add the milk and stir again, then add salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste and remove from the heat.
Leave to cool a little for a few minutes. Separate the eggs and add the egg yolks to the sauce and stir again. Fold in the cauliflower.
Butter an ovenproof dish and sprinkle half the breadcrumbs inside the dish. Now whisk the egg whites until stiff, then fold into the cauliflower mixture and transfer to the dish.
Sprinkle the remaining breadcrumbs over and dot butter evenly over the top. Bake for 40 minutes.
While the cauliflower is in the oven, mix the cherry tomatoes with the olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper and place in a small ovenproof dish. Bake for 10 minutes alongside the gratin, towards the end of its cooking time, and serve both right away.
Scandinavian Comfort Food by Trine Hahnemann (Quadrille £25) Photography: Columbus Leth
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