A few days ago I shared my review of Mat Follas’ new cookbook, Vegetable Perfection published by Ryland Peters & Small. Click through to read more and to enter my giveaway to win your own copy of the book.
The book shares over 100 vegetarian recipes using the ‘roots, bulbs, shoots and stems’ of a wide variety of vegetables. The recipes are perfect for home cooks, created in a domestic kitchen using domestic kitchen equipment and as such, they are not only delicious but very achievable.
Pete and I have thus far made three recipes from the book, Mat’s Mushroom Toad-in-the-hole, his Homemade baked beans and the recipe I’m sharing with you today, his Four Cheese Cauliflower Cheese. We really liked all three but this one is my favourite so far.
We made half the quantity, which very generously served two.
Mat labels this recipe simply as Cauliflower Cheese, but to me that understates the sheer indulgence and tastiness of his use of four different cheeses to create a really complex and cheesy sauce, so I’m embellishing the name to suit its nature!
Mat Follas’ Four Cheese Cauliflower Cheese
Extracted from Vegetable Perfection with permission
This recipe is all about the cheese. Don’t panic if you don’t have all four cheeses, just increase the amount of cheeses you do have to the same overall weight. However, if you do have all four, the combination of their flavours and textures makes an amazing sticky lava flow of cheese that cannot be beaten.
- 2 large cauliflowers
- 30 g unsalted butter
- 30 g plain flour
- 500 ml whole milk
- 100 g string Cheddar cheese (grated)
- 100 g Gruyère cheese (grated)
- 50 g Parmesan cheese (grated)
- 120 g mozzarella cheese (sliced)
- 1-2 tsp English mustard
- 1-2 splashes Tabasco sauce , to season
- a pinch smoked paprika
- salt , to season
- olive oil , to coat
- tomato salad , to serve (optional)
Preheat the oven to 160°C (325°F) Gas 3.
Prepare the cauliflower by trimming the leaves off, then slicing across the base in 2-cm slices, like slicing a loaf of bread. Lightly oil the cauliflower slices on both sides and season with a little salt.
Preheat a griddle pan over a medium heat, then cook the cauliflower slices for 2–3 minutes on each side, to just char and par-cook them. This should leave the cauliflower cooked one-third of the way through on each side.
Lay the slices in a casserole dish, overlapping to fit them all in.
To make the sauce, begin by making a roux. Put the butter and flour in a dry saucepan and set over a medium heat until the mixture forms crumbs and is just starting to colour. Slowly, add about 125 ml of milk and whisk to combine into a smooth, thick paste. With the pan still on the heat, keep adding the milk 125 ml at a time and whisk together to combine until all of the milk has been added to the sauce and it is thin and smooth.
Reduce to a low heat and add two-thirds of the Cheddar, Gruyère and Parmesan cheeses to the sauce. Whisk gently until the sauce is smooth, then add the mozzarella cheese. Whisk until the cheese has melted and you have a smooth sauce.
Add a large teaspoon of mustard, a generous splash of Tabasco sauce and a pinch of salt, and whisk together. Taste the sauce and add more mustard, Tabasco sauce or salt as you like it.
Pour the sauce over the cauliflower, then sprinkle the remaining cheese over and finish with the smoked paprika to decorate and add a hint of smoke. At this stage, you can store the cauliflower cheese in a fridge for up to 2 days.
Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes (20 minutes if it has been chilled in the fridge). Check that it is cooked by probing with a fork to ensure there is no hard centre. Turn the oven up to 200°C (400°F) Gas 6 for 5 minutes to brown the cheese topping.
Serve 2–3 slices of cauliflower with the sauce per person with a tomato salad on the side.
Kavey Eats received a review copy of Vegetable Perfection from Ryland Peters & Small and was given permission to publish this extracted recipe. Vegetable Perfection by Mat Follas (photography by Steve Painter) is currently available from Amazon for £14.88 (RRP £16.99).