Our concerted effort to use the food that we have in cold storage, canned and frozen is paying off. The stockpile in the freezer is smaller than it was two months ago, and much smaller than it was at this time last year.
One thing we still have in excess is cauliflower, in part because 2013 was a great year for growing it. We probably froze a dozen or more 1-pound bags, and we still have most of them because I have been so focused on using the winter squash that is in cold storage.
When I opened the freezer door last week, I was like, “Oh! Cauliflower. Need to use that.”
Happily, New York Times food columnist Martha Rose Shulman did a section on gratins last week that included a delicious cauliflower casserole.
I screwed it up a bit because I thought one medium head of cauliflower would be 2 pounds, but now, I think it is closer to one. I ended up compensating by adding an extra cup of tomato sauce and an extra egg, but when I make it again, I’ll use the portions below.
I’ll also cut the cauliflower into smaller pieces next time. I think it would make for a more pleasant texture and experience.
Cauliflower with Tomato Sauce and Goat Cheese
1 pound cauliflower, defrosted (or 1 head of fresh if you don’t freeze cauliflower during the summer)
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
salt and pepper to taste
1 small or 1/2 large onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
2 cups tomato sauce
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
2 1/2 ounces soft goat cheese, softened
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Toss the cauliflower with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, salt and pepper, then place it on the lined baking sheet. Bake it for about 16 minutes, flipping over the large pieces half-way through.
Remove the baking sheet from the oven, and turn down the temperature to 375 degrees.
Cut the cauliflower into small pieces. You should have about 2 cups.
Grease a 2-quart baking dish.
Heat the last tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan. Add the onions and cook until they begin to soften. Add the garlic, thyme, cinnamon, coriander and tomato sauce. Cook the mixture a little more until the sauce cooks down some.
Toss the cauliflower with the sauce and pour the mixture into a baking dish.
Set aside 2 tablespoons of goat cheese. Beat the rest with the eggs until the mixture is smooth.
Pour the egg mixture over cauliflower mixture, then dot the top with small pieces of the remaining goat cheese.
Bake the casserole for about 30 minutes, until the top is beginning to brown in spots. Remove it from the oven and let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes before serving. This makes four to six servings.