by Johnny Loua, Chef, Seattle, Washington
- 2 pounds cauliflower florets, washed and trimmed
- 1½ tablespoons unsalted butter
- ¼ cup finely diced shallot
- 1½ tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 cup milk
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 peppercorns
- 2 cloves
- Pinch of nutmeg
- Pinch of white pepper
- Pinch of kosher salt
- ¼ cup Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Blanch the florets in a pot of salted, boiling water. Shock the cauliflower by immediately transferring to a bowl of ice water. Once cooled, drain off any excess water and set aside.
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the shallot and a pinch of salt and cook slowly, stirring occasionally for 2 to 3 minutes, until the onion is translucent. Sprinkle in the flour and cook, stirring constantly so the roux does not color, for 3 minutes. Whisk in the milk and cream until fully incorporated. Bring to a simmer, add the bay leaf, peppercorns, and cloves. Lower the heat, and simmer gently, whisking occasionally for 30 minutes. Remove the sauce from the heat and whisk in nutmeg, pepper, and adjust seasoning to taste. Strain the sauce through a fine-mesh strainer, add the cheese, and whisk to melt. Add the cauliflower and toss well. Transfer to a baking dish and sprinkle more parmesan cheese on the top. Bake for 20 minutes.