Roasted Cauliflower Au Gratin is a simple Italian recipe for cauliflower dipped in extra virgin olive oil then coated with a mixture of bread crumbs and cheese, and roasted for 15 to 18 minutes, until golden brown. Nothing fancy, but it makes cauliflower SO delicious – it bursts with flavor!
The cheese helps give its flavorful crust on the outside while keeping the vegetable moist on the inside. With this recipe, cauliflower always turns out flavorful, light and tasty.
It’s a great way to get the family, especially the kids and even the picky eaters to eat cauliflower!
No need to add salt or pepper with this recipe, the pecorino cheese, and cayenne pepper give enough flavor to this dish. Best of all, it’s low calorie and low in fat!
This delicious side dish will pair very nicely with any of our seafood and chicken dishes, including our chicken with Dijon wine cream sauce and our baked flounder filet oreganata, just to name a few.
What does “Au Gratin” mean in cooking?
In cooking, the term “au gratin” refers to a dish that is baked with a topping of seasoned breadcrumbs and cheese. The au gratin topping should be golden brown, which can be achieved by baking, roasting or by placing the dish under a broiler.
So why not make it with CAULIFLOWER, right? And that’s just what we did here!
This recipe for cauliflower au gratin is an easy way to cook cauliflower.
Plus, it makes a great side dish that will complement almost anything. It works perfectly with meats, seafood, and poultry.
This is an old family recipe from our mom who is not a professional chef. But, she did actually learn her culinary skills from watching professional chefs cook in their kitchens while living with our dad (as newlyweds) in Capri, Italy.
So for now, her simple tips about cooking are the ones we love sharing with you!
Moms Ideas and Tips For Success:
Boiling the cauliflower with bay leaves helps eliminate the gas from the vegetable.
When our mom buys cauliflower, she brings it home and immediately cords and boils or steams it until al-dente. Then she stores it in an air-tight container. Kept refrigerated, it’s ready for any of her dishes she decides to make that week.
She also recommends never overcook the cauliflower, it can get mushy very quickly unless you plan to use it in soups! Just sayin’
Use the best quality of grated cheese! For this recipe, we prefer grated Locatelli Pecorino Romano cheese. If you use other brands from shelves, they are not good, basically selling a mixture of sawdust.
Also, if you run out of olive oil while dipping, and you need extra, pour a small amount as needed. And, don’t waste it! If you have any extra virgin olive oil remaining in the bowl, drizzle it over the cauliflower before it bakes.
Easy Steps To Make Roasted Cauliflower Au Gratin:
1. First, you will need to boil the whole cauliflower for a few minutes, until a fork can be poked through. Do not overcook, cauliflower should be al-dente.
2. Drain, let it cool for a few minutes.
3. Using your hands, gently break the cauliflower apart into medium florets.
Discard the cord.
4. Grab 2 bowls to work with. One medium bowl to mix together bread crumbs, grated cheese, and cayenne pepper. And a second small bowl for the olive oil for dipping.
5. Take each cauliflower floret and gently dip into the olive oil, then gently roll into the bread crumb mixture, until well coated.
6. Place prepared cauliflower florets onto a baking dish. Then bake or roast until golden brown. Remove and serve.
More Tasty Recipes for Cauliflower!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 18 minutes
Total Time 28 minutes
- 1 medium Cauliflower -rinsed
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 cup plain bread crumbs
- 1/2 cup grated Pecorino-Romano cheese
- 1/8 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
- 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil
- olive oil cooking spray
- Preheat Oven to 400 degrees ( 200 C). Spray a (10 x 12) baking dish with cooking spray, set aside.
- In a medium pot, add the entire cauliflower and fill with water until leveled. Add the bay leaves and cover with a lid.
- Boil the cauliflower to boil, for about 3 to 5 minutes, until you can poke a fork through, but DO NOT overcook the cauliflower, it should be very al-dente.
- Drain the cauliflower, and set aside to cool for a few minutes.
- Using your hands, gently break the cauliflower apart into medium florets. Discard the cord
- In a medium bowl, mix together bread crumbs, grated cheese, and cayenne pepper. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, pour the olive oil for dipping.
- Take each cauliflower floret and gently dip into the olive oil, then gently roll into the bread crumb mixture, until well coated.
- Place prepared cauliflower florets onto a baking dish.
- Bake at 400 degrees for 15 to 18 minutes. Or, roast at 450 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes for a crunchier crust. Remove and serve.
- Serves 4 to 6
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