Cauliflower is one of those vegetables that I happily eat year ’round, raw or simply roasted with some garlic and olive oil. But with it’s snowy clusters, it seems perfectly seasonal for a winter side dish. I love its flavor in all its nutty glory. Creamy and cheesy in a casserole it is over the top. This is a recipe that I keep in my back pocket and sneak it out for special occasion or holiday meals…and not so much for the reason that it’s difficult or time consuming, it’s just one of those side dishes that brings a velvety and rich elegance to a fancy meal.
Cauliflower with it’s naturally creamy properties and flavor makes a perfect partner for Swiss cheese. Swiss cheese is a generic name for several varieties of North American cheese which resemble Emmental (or Emmentaler) which originated in the area around Emmental, Switzerland. Our absolute favorite of this type of cheese is Jarlsberg which is a mild, semi-soft cow’s milk cheese from Norway. It tends to be sweeter and stronger than Emmentaler, it’s buttery and rich in texture with a nutty flavor. Bingo…great for cauliflower. We buy it in a huge wedge at Costco and savor every bite, whether it be just a small slice on a cracker or on top of a sliver of ham with a dollop of Dijon. Great flavor combinations.
This recipe comes together as expected with a simple roux of flour, butter and cream and is made even more decadent with the Jarlsberg cheese and prosciutto. Colorful with some dots of peas will have everyone yodeling for more.
Starting this recipe stovetop and finishing in the oven, this is easily a one pot meal using my smaller Le Creuset French Oven. Let’s take a look.
- 6 T . unsalted butter
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 4 oz . prosciutto chopped
- 1 large head cauliflower divided into florets
- 2 T . all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 C . heavy cream
- Pinch of cayenne pepper
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 C . frozen peas
- 1 1/2 C . Jarlsberg or Swiss Cheese
- 1/2 C . parsley chopped
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In an oven-proof casserole melt butter over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant. Stir in the prosciutto and sauté 2 minutes.
Add the cauliflower and cook just until is begins to lose it's crispness, 3 - 4 minutes, stirring often.
Stir in the flour, and stir constantly for 1 minute. Add the cream and the peas. Blend well. Season with the cayenne, salt and pepper and remove from heat.
Sprinkle with cheese and parsley. Bake until top is lightly browned and the mixture is bubbly. About 30 minutes.
Creamy Swiss Cheese Cauliflower…It’s what’s for a Side Dish.