May 18, 2018

Elotes-Inspired Cheesy Cauliflower Casserole



Ingredients:

1 medium-large cauliflower, cut into bite-sized florets
1/2 cup sour cream
1 1/2 tablespoons Tajín Clásico Seasoning
1/3-1/2 cup grated cotija
1/3-1/2 cup shredded queso quesadilla
1 bunch scallions or green onion, diced
1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs (I used breadcrumbs from a loaf of cheese bread but any would work)

Directions:

Steam cauliflower until just barely fork-tender. Cool completely. (this can be done up to one day ahead)

Preheat oven to 350.

Place the cooled cauliflower in a medium-sized bowl. Add the sour cream, Tajín, cheese, and scallion. Stir until evenly distributed. Lightly grease a 1 1/2 quart baking pan and pour the mixture in the pan. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs. Bake 20 minutes or until browned and bubbly.



My thoughts:
I had an entirely different idea as to what I was doing with this cauliflower but the gouda I was planning on using was unexpectedly moldy so I had to switch gears. I didn't really grow up eating casseroles but as an adult, I've found I really enjoy vegetable casseroles in particular. Some of the meat and potato ones I've seen are still a little daunting but for veggies, they are a great, easy way to serve vegetables that seems special but really requires little effort.


I always have chile-lime Tajín in the cabinet and I had two kinds of Mexican cheese I had picked up for another recipe and I quickly came up with this casserole inspired by the flavors of one of my favorite summer dishes: elotes, Mexican street corn. Tajín is traditionally used sprinkled over fruit but I've come to love the mixture in savory dishes as well. I was really pleased with how it turned out. The quesadilla cheese, of course, melts beautifully and held the mixture together and the cotija has so much sharp, savory flavor it really jazzes up cauliflower which, while I love it, can be bland. The toasty breadcrumbs added a lot of texture interest. It really looks like a standard creamy casserole but once you take a bite, you realize how fresh and full of flavor it is.
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