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Here is a cauliflower and broccoli gratin, but I would have prepared it exactly the same way if I used only one vegetable. Most of the cabbage family can be gratinated, one of my favourites is Brussels sprouts gratin. [Just remember to cut the Brussels sprouts in half before steaming, that way they won’t be bitter.]

Since Mornay sauce is the most often used sauce in gratins, let’s talk cheese sauce first. Mornay sauce is béchamel sauce with cheese. When it comes to gratin, people seem to be concerned with the water content of the vegetables, especially with cauliflower’s. Except the pooling of liquid in the bottom of the dish is probably the separation of cheese during baking. You can let the gratin sit for a while and it will thicken up a bit, but you cannot do much about the consistency of the sauce, it will still look like scrambled eggs. The texture of prepared food is as important as the taste and a gratin should have a velvet smooth sauce. The solution is ever so simple; don’t combine the cheese with the béchamel. Instead, layer the béchamel and the cheese. In the end, the gratin will come out tasting the same, béchamel and cheese fusing together with a velvet smooth texture. Use Mornay sauce as a sauce, but do not use it for a gratin. Any hard cheese works fine my preference is white cheddar.

Speaking of textures, the addition of breadcrumbs to the sauce is a horrific idea, because breadcrumbs make the gratin grainy. Sprinkle a little on the top over the cheese layer, never combine it with the sauce.

cauliflower and broccoli florets
salt and pepper to taste
1 batch of béchamel sauce
1 cup of shredded white cheddar cheese
sprinkling of light breadcrumbs

• Make a batch of béchamel sauce and set aside.
• Steam the cauliflower and broccoli florets.
• Drain and set aside.
• Place a few tablespoons of béchamel sauce on the bottom of the dish.
• Lay the vegetables over the sauce with the florets facing the top.
• Spoon the béchamel sauce on top covering all the florets.
• Top with the shredded cheese.
• Sprinkle lightly with light breadcrumbs.
• Bake in a 425F preheated oven for twenty minutes.

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