Cauliflower cheese with spiced mornay sauce recipe


This is a brilliant accompaniment to steak or lamb roasts, or simply serve by itself as a comfort-food supper.

  • Yield: 4 Servings


  • 1 pinch sea salt
  • 1 cauliflower, outer leaves removed and chopped into 2 cm (¾in) slices; florets separated into golf-ball-sized chunks
For the Mornay Sauce
  • 1 oz (30 g) unsalted butter
  • 1 oz (30 g) plain flour
  • 14 fl oz (400 ml) whole milk
  • 2 fl oz (50 ml) single cream
  • 2¾ oz (75 g) mature Cheddar cheese, grated, plus 50 g (1¾oz) grated cheese for the topping
  • 1¾ oz (50 g) mature Emmenthal cheese, grated
  • 1 oz (30 g) Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 2 tsp French mustard
  • 1 tsp English mustard
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns, finely ground
  • ¼ tsp Szechuan pepper, finely ground
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • Scant ¼ tsp finely ground mace
How to Make It
  1. Pour enough cold water into a saucepan, big enough to hold the cauliflower, to come 3 cm (1¼in) up the sides of the pan. Add the salt and the cauliflower leaves, then put the florets on top.
  2. Bring to the boil over a medium heat, then turn down the heat, cover the pan and simmer for 12–15 minutes until the florets are just tender; when pierced with a knife there will be just a little resistance.
  3. Remove from the heat and drain. Put the cooked greens into a roasting tin and put the florets on top. Set aside.
  4. Preheat the oven to 200°C (gas mark 6). To make the sauce, put a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the butter, stir lightly with a small whisk, and when it has melted add the flour and whisk to form a roux. Cook for 30 seconds.
  5. Pour the milk and cream into a jug, then pour it bit by bit into the pan, whisking all the time to combine well with the roux. Once all the liquid is added, keep whisking and allow the sauce to cook until you see the first bubbles appear, then continue to cook for 2 minutes.
  6. Next add the cheeses, mustards, peppers and mace, stirring continuously to combine. Once the cheese has melted, continue to cook gently for 5 minutes, with only the odd bubble or two popping up, stirring occasionally.
  7. Pour all the sauce into the roasting tin, covering the cauliflower, then sprinkle over the extra grated Cheddar. Put on the middle shelf of the oven, and bake for 15–20 minutes or until the cheese melts and the sauce begins to scorch without burning. Serve immediately.

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