- 1 stick plus 2 teaspoons unsalted butter
- 3 pounds cauliflower, trimmed and cut into large florets
- 1 1/2 pounds broccoli, trimmed and cut into large florets
- 2 teaspoons salt, plus more as needed
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 6 cups whole milk
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
- 8 ounces grated cheddar cheese, about 3 cups
- 1 cup fine dry bread crumbs
- 2 teaspoons Essence, recipe follows
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a 3-quart casserole dish with 2 teaspoons of butter and set aside.
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the cauliflower and cook until tender but still firm, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a colander, rinse under cold running water, and drain well.
Place the cauliflower in the prepared pan and top with the broccoli.
In a medium heavy saucepan, melt the remaining stick of butter over medium heat. Stir in the flour, whisking constantly over medium heat until thickened into a blond roux, about 4 minutes. Add the remaining 2 teaspoons salt and the cayenne, stir, and gradually add the cold milk, whisking constantly until the mixture thickens, about 4 minutes. Bring to a simmer and add the cheese, whisking constantly until the cheese is melted. Remove from the heat.
Pour the cheese sauce over the vegetables, gently rapping the casserole dish on the counter top to dispel air bubbles.
In a bowl, mix together the bread crumbs, oil, and Essence and evenly distribute over the top of the vegetables. Bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes. Serve hot.
Essence (Emeril's Creole Seasoning):
2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon dried leaf oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme
Combine all ingredients thoroughly and store in an airtight jar or container.
Yield: about 2/3 cup
Recipe from "New New Orleans Cooking", by Emeril Lagasse and Jessie Tirsch. Published by William and Morrow, 1993.