Cooking the Cowboy Way
by Grady Spears with June Naylor
This has become one of the most popular vegetable dishes at Lambert's in Fort Worth. Even folks who don't think they like cauliflower fall in love with this gratin. It's the rich cheese sauce that everyone likes. At Lou 's ranch, he made this in a 12-inch cast iron skillet. You can use a deep 9 by 11½-inch baking dish.
Serves 8 to 10
• 2 heads cauliflower
• 8 cloves garlic, halved
• 1/4 cup olive oil
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 1/4 cup unsalted butter
• 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
• 4 cups milk
• Salt and white pepper
• Pinch of ground nutmeg
• 4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
• 4 ounces goat cheese, at room temperature
• Pinch of cayenne pepper
• 1/2 cup grated Jack or cheddar cheese
Preheat the oven to 400°F and butter a large baking dish.
Cut away the leaves and trim the stalks from the cauliflower, cut the vegetable into large chunks, and combine in a large bowl with the garlic and olive oil, tossing to coat well.
Transfer the cauliflower to a baking pan, season lightly with salt and pepper, and roast for about 15 minutes, stirring once or twice and cooking to a slightly softened texture.
Remove from the oven, transfer to the prepared casserole dish, and set aside while making the bechamel sauce.
Decrease the oven temperature to 350°F.
To make the sauce, melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat, then stir in the flour.
Slowly add the milk, stirring constantly to keep the mixture smooth.
Add the salt, white pepper, and nutmeg.
Decrease the heat to low and simmer for about 15 minutes, stir- ring occasionally.
Gradually add the cream cheese, goat cheese, and cayenne, and stir until smooth.
Pour the sauce over the cauliflower in the baking dish and toss gently to coat.
Bake for 15 minutes; top the baking dish with the grated cheese and bake for 5 minutes longer.