Preparing the florets in three different ways before mixing them with the cheese sauce provides a combination of textures and flavours that makes this cauliflower cheese really special. Like my mac and cheese recipe, cornflour is the secret ingredient to a really good cheese sauce.
- 50 g white caster sugar
- 100 ml white wine vinegar
- 1 large cauliflower, broken into florets
- groundnut oil
- 500 ml chicken stock, reduced to 200 ml and kept warm
- 300 ml white wine, reduced to 30 ml
- 120 g grated gruyère cheese, plus extra grated gruyère or cheddar, for gratinating
- 20 g cornflour
- 20 g soft cheese
- 1 knob butter
- few drops of truffle oil
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Chilling time 30 minutes
In a small pan over a medium heat, combine the sugar and the vinegar and bring to the boil. Remove the pan from the heat and pour the liquid over one-third of the cauliflower florets. Place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, add enough oil to a pan to fill three-quarters full and place over medium-high heat. Once the oil reaches 180ºC, add half the remaining florets and fry for approximately 3 minutes, or until golden brown.
Blanch the remaining cauliflower florets in boiling salted water until soft. Drain and set to one side.
Preheat the grill to high. Add the warm chicken stock to the reduced wine and place over a medium heat.
Mix the grated cheese with the cornflour and add to the pan. Stir until the cheese has been incorporated into the liquid. Add the soft cheese and butter and stir until fully incorporated. Remove the pan from the heat.
Mix the pickled, fried and part-cooked cauliflower florets together in a bowl and toss with the cheese sauce and a few drops of truffle oil. Divide the mixture between individual ramekins and sprinkle a little cheese on top.
Place the ramekins under the grill or use a blowtorch to gratinate the top.