Friday, October 5, 2012

Baby Cauliflower with Spicy Béchamel

Let’s talk side dishes, shall we?  You know what I’m talking about.  In a word: vegetables.  Often the bane of the entrée’s existence, the side dish can tend to be a bit dull, bland in color, and generally rather unloved, particularly if there are kids or husbands involved.  But they don’t have to be.  I have found that an interesting appearing side dish drizzled with a tasty sauce can turn blah into wonderful and, dare I say, requested?  True.  Cauliflower is a favorite of mine.  I happen to like the taste as is, but it is one of those versatile vegetables than can be dressed up so easily, mashed into a potato-like dish that will fool even the most devoted potato fancier, and it comes in a variety of sizes AND colors.  (I’ll bet you weren’t expecting that).   Low in both saturated fat and cholesterol, it is a good source of protein, thiamin, potassium, fiber, and a host of other good things.

Baby cauliflower, I think, is particularly easy to work with, and I love the different colors of those cute little heads.  Peel back and remove the leaves, rinse the heads, and allow draining in a colander.  While you are bringing a large pot of salted water to the boil prepare the sauce (recipe below).  When your water reaches the boiling point (and I’m talking a full, rolling boil here) drop the cauliflower in all at once, and boil for 5-7 minutes until they reach the desired tenderness.  When done, drain, plate, and drizzle with the sauce.

Spicy Béchamel Sauce

¼ cup butter 
¼ cup all-purpose flour 
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper 
1 Tablespoon LB Jamison's Chicken Flavored Soup Base 
1½ cup water 
1½ cup light cream

Melt butter over medium-high heat in a medium saucepan.  Stir in flour and cook for one minute stirring constantly.  Add seasonings, water and cream, stirring until thick and smooth.  Add more cayenne, if desired.
If you don’t care for spicy, eliminate the cayenne and add about 1/8 teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg.  If your family consists of cheese lovers, toss in ½ cup grated sharp cheddar cheese.

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So Domesticated said...

We LOVE cauliflower over here... going the have to dress it up with your Spicy Bechamel Sauce!

Carole said...

This is a lovely dish. I have moved it to the Chillis and other spicy stuff edition of Food on Friday since it didn't fit the lamb theme. Thanks for linking in. Have a great week.

PS Next week's theme for Food on Friday is soup.

Mich Piece of Cake said...

Love the gorgeous colors of the cauliflower... Spicy sauce sounds good on this!