New Recipe from Debbie Halls-Evans: Brown Butter Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Goats Cheese Soufflé Topping

If, like me, you were glued to Channel 4’s The Taste last year, you’ll have seen Bolton’s Debbie Halls-Evans (and Team Nigella) triumph in this addictive cooking competition. And if, like me, you’re a big fan of both cheese AND cauliflower but are looking for a new way to combine them, you’ll love this new recipe! So, over to Debbie (who we’re pleased to confirm will be judging again at this year’s International Cheese Awards in July) to tell us how it’s done…

There are lots and lots of recipes and interpretations of cauliflower cheese but I like to simplify and also add my own twist: is that not what cooking is all about, adaptation of any recipe? The usual bedfellows for Cauliflower are nutmeg and cheese, but there are so many other flavour combinations that work amazingly with the nuttiness of a roasted cauliflower – why not try these combinations?

  • Almonds or walnuts, either ground, flaked, roasted with your cauliflower
  • Anchovy (which adds saltiness, not the fishy flavour as most think) or capers
  • Broccoli and potato
  • Cumin and garlic – amazing, as their natural sweetness when roasted adds a new dimension to the soft cauliflower
  • Saffron and Shellfish (At my pop up @The Cowshed I added a vanilla scallop with my Smoked Cauliflower Cheese Soup and it was a perfect marriage) . The saffron and shellfish works with the muted flavour of the cauliflower and you get all the flavour hit really well.

Other methods of cooking (or not!) cauliflower are:

  • Grating it and making it into a cheese risotto
  • As a carpaccio - posh term for cutting the raw cauliflower on your mandolin to super wafer thin and either scorching with a blow torch or eating as is raw!
  • Steamed with water that is steeped with your favourite herb and spice flavours

Brown Nutmeg Butter Whole Roasted Cauliflower Goats Cheese Soufflé Topping

Equipment you will need:

Roasting Pan

Large Pan that fits the whole cauliflower in

Whisk, Knives

Sieve or Large utensil to remove cauliflower

Platter or Large plate to serve

Ingredients

  • 1 Cauliflower - large is great although you could get some smaller ones and serve as individual portions; goes against a little of the trend but who cares!
  • Vegetable stock or chicken stock, whichever you prefer,
  • Herbs - tie together in a bit of muslin or just with a rubber band or string (not blue aka Bridget Jones!) which makes it easy to remove
  • Salt and Pepper
  • White wine 300ml (enough left to drink with dinner!)
  • 2 tsp Vinegar (Malt is fine- white wine vinegar is best)
  • 1 tsp Sugar
  • 45 ml Olive oil
  • 1 lemon zest and 1 juice of the lemon

Souffle topping

  • 175g Goats Cheese (use your favourite)
  • 85g Cream Cheese
  • 25g butter, melted with 25g flour to make a roux
  • 50 ml Cream
  • 50 ml Milk
  • 3 Egg Yolks
  • 3 Egg Whites whisked till thick
  • Salt and Pepper

How to make your nutmeg butter

  • How to make flavoured butters- use the best quality butter you can afford to buy - I use homemade flavoured butter as it adds extra flavour to toast or vegetables. Use 250g of softened butter (leave it out of the fridge for 30 minutes), put into the mixer and add your favourite flavours- here would be great to add nutmeg into the butter, whip until smooth and mixed evenly. Place some cling film out on your counter and put the butter in line across the cling film, roll up into a sausage and twist the ends, place in the freezer and then when solid slice as needed.

How to Make

  • Put all ingredients (except cauliflower and those for the soufflé) into a large pan big enough to fit the whole cauliflower.
  • Put the pan onto a low heat and allow ingredients to infuse slowly for 15 minutes.
  • Brown your flavoured nutmeg butter - allow it to foam and then put aside.
  • Trim the cauliflower stalk so it sits flat on its own, leaving some of the leaves for added flavour.
  • Put the cauliflower whole into the liquid and allow to cook until soft – this will take about 25-35 minutes
  • When soft lift out as a whole and place in a buttered dish that will go in the oven and that you can serve from.
  • Dot your flavoured browned nutmeg butter over the top and add salt and freshly ground pepper over the top (if you want extra cheese flavour crumble over now!)
  • Roast in a hot oven (180C, 350F, Gas Mark 4) for 25-35 minutes until golden brown.
  • Make your roux, whisk and then add the milk, cream and egg yolks into it until thick. Then add your cheeses into the white sauce and season well.
  • Stir in your whisked egg whites gently, pour over the roasted cauliflower and cook for a further 15 minutes.

Serve immediately on a large platter.