Emeril's Broccoli and Cauliflower Au Gratin Recipe

Thanksgiving isn't just about the turkey; the side dishes can make or break a fabulous holiday meal. So, as part of his weeklong cook up to Turkey Day, Emeril Lagasse shows you how to get the most out of your side dishes.

Check out his recipe below.

Click here for more meal ideas from "GMA's" recipe index and click here to send in your turkey preparation questions.

Broccoli and Cauliflower Au Gratin

1 tablespoon salt
3 pounds cauliflower, cut into medium florets
1 to 1 1/2 pounds broccoli, cut into medium florets
8 tablespoons (1 stick) plus 2 teaspoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup bleached all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
6 cups milk
8 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded (about 2 cups)
1 cup fine dried bread crumbs
2 teaspoons Emeril's Original Essence or Creole Seasoning
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Fill a large pot three-quarters full with water and add 1 teaspoon of the salt. Bring to a boil over high heat. Add the cauliflower and cook until just tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cauliflower to a colander. Rinse under cold running water until cool. Drain well.

Add the broccoli to the boiling water. Cook until just tender, about 5 minutes. Drain the broccoli in a colander. Rinse under cold running water to cool. Drain well.

Butter a 15 x 10-inch baking dish (or 2 smaller dishes) with 2 teaspoons of the butter. Arrange the cauliflower evenly in the dish, then arrange the broccoli on top.

Melt the remaining 8 tablespoons butter in a heavy medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook, whisking, until the roux is a blond color, about 3 minutes. Add the remaining 2 teaspoons salt and the cayenne. Gradually whisk in the milk and whisk constantly until the mixture boils and thickens, about 4 minutes. Whisk in the cheese until it melts.

Pour the cheese sauce over the cauliflower and broccoli, and gently rap the dish on the countertop to remove any air bubbles.

Combine the bread crumbs, Essence, and olive oil in a small bowl, mixing well. Spoon the mixture evenly over the top of the vegetables.

Bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes. Serve hot.

Yield: 6 to 8 servings
Recipe courtesy Emeril Lagasse, courtesy Martha Stewart Omnimedia, Inc.

More of Emeril's Side Dishes

Sweet Potato-Marshmallow Casserole Recipe
Emeril's Minty Green Peas Recipe
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