Cauliflower Cheese Gratin with Crispy Bacon

This is classic comfort food: cauliflower cooked gently to retain a little crunch, in a velvety, rich cheese sauce, grilled gratin-style and served with a topping of crispy bacon. Satisfying as a main meal served with a wedge of granary bread or alternatively as an accompaniment to other dishes.


Serves 2-3

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Cook's NoteOther cheese combinations can be used if liked. Always choose good melting varieties with a strong flavour such gruyere, white stilton or mature double Gloucester.
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  • 1 small cauliflower approximately 450-500g
  • Sauce
  • 50 g butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 400ml milk
  • 1 teaspoon whole grain mustard
  • 2 tablespoons cream cheese
  • 100g grated mature cheddar cheese*
  • 50g grated parmesan
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

Gratin topping:

  • 4 tablespoons fresh white breadcrumbs
  • 30g grated mature cheddar
  • ¼ teaspoon paprika
  • 4 thin cut rashers streaky bacon cut in half
  • 2 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley



To prepare the cauliflower:

Prepare the cauliflower by removing any foliage and cutting into 4-5cm florets.

Fill the 3-ply stainless steel 20cm sauté pan with approximately 500ml water and ½ teaspoon of salt add the cauliflower florets, put the lid on and bring to the boil over a medium heat.

Simmer for 5-6 minutes until just tender but not soft. Drain into a colander or sieve and set to one side.

To make the sauce:

Melt the butter in the sauté pan over a low to medium heat. Once hot stir in the flour and remove from the heat.

Beat in the milk, a little at a time, until it is all incorporated

Stir in the other sauce ingredients

Return to the heat and cook stirring all the time until the sauce becomes thick and glossy.

To make the gratin:

In a small bowl mix the breadcrumbs, cheese and the paprika together and set aside.

Stir the cooked cauliflower into the sauce and sprinkle over this the breadcrumb mixture.

Place under a medium heat grill approximately 10cm away from the element and cook for 5-6 minutes until bubbly and brown. Whilst the gratin is cooking, grill or pans fry the bacon until crisp.

Serve the gratin toped with the crispy rashers and a dusting of freshly chopped parsley.