November 17, 2017

Bacon Pepper Jack Cauliflower Casserole


1 medium head cauliflower,  lightly steamed and cut into florets (about 2 cups)
8 oz brick pepper jack cheese, shredded
1 cup whole milk
1/2 teaspoon paprika
3 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup flour
1 bunch scallions, chopped
2 pieces cooked, thick cut bacon, crumbled
1/4 cup roughly chopped Italian parsley
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper


Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease a 1 1/2-quart baking pan. Arrange the cauliflower in a single layer in the baking dish.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in the pan. Add the flour and spices. Whisk until it forms a paste, about 1 minute. Pour in the milk. Whisk until the mixture is smooth. Add the cheese and whisk until thickened, 3-5 minutes. Stir in the scallions, bacon, and parsley. Pour over cauliflower. Bake 15 minutes or until lightly browned and bubbly. Serve immediately.

My thoughts:
I've been doing a lot of shopping at Aldi lately (shameless plug for my Aldi fan blog here) and while their produce section is small they always have freakishly good looking cauliflower. Plus it is much cheaper there than at the regular supermarket so I've been making and eating a lot of cauliflower lately. I've always liked it but spending $4 for a head of cauliflower when it is a vegetable that needs a lot of work to jazz it up (who eats plain steamed cauliflower? no one I'd want to know) was never very appealing to me. Now that I have a cheaper source, I've been making it in a billion different ways.

This recipe turns cauliflower into a holiday-worthy, indulgent treat. Pepper Jack cheese adds some heat and the parsley and green onions freshen it up. Technically, you could skip the baking step and simply toss it with the cauliflower but those last few minutes in the oven crisps up both the cauliflower and cheese and makes it just that much tastier and satisfying to eat.

I like using a Pepper Jack that is a bit hot (usually Cabot) but a milder Pepper Jack would work as well, for the spice-adverse.

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