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Purple Cauliflower and Potato Gratin

PurpleCauliflowerInspired by Cake Duchess


  • 1 purple cauliflower head, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 4 medium sized potatoes, peeled and sliced thin
  • 1 medium onion, sliced thin
  • 1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 1 cup Gruyère cheese cut into small chunks (or whatever soft cheese you’d like)
  • 3-4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Besciamella Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 1/2 cups whole milk
  • teaspoon nutmeg

La besciamella Directions:

1. Melt the butter in a heavy medium-size saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk together until incorporated. The flour will be very dry. Raise the heat to medium-high and in 1/2 cup portions, gradually whisk in the milk and bring to a boil.

2. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the sauce thickens slightly, whisking often, about 5 minutes. The besciamella will continue to thicken even when you remove from the heat. If it seems to dense, whisk in a little bit more of mil. Whisk in the nutmeg. Season with salt and pepper to taste.


1. Preheat oven to 420F. Sauté’ the onion in a large frying pan with 1-2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil until translucent and golden brown.

2. In the meantime, boil the cauliflowers and potatoes in two different medium sauce pans until they are tender. The vegetables should still have a little crunch and it should only take a few minutes. Be sure to not overcook the vegetables.

3. Drain the veggies and place in a large bowl. Season the vegetables with salt, pepper, and 1-2 tablespoon of olive oil. Both vegetables will continue cooking in casserole with the besciamella sauce.

4. Spoon a portion of the besciamella over the bottom of the casserole. Layer the vegetables on top. Spread the rest of the besciamella on top. Toss on the Gruyère cheese and sprinkle on the grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.

5. Bake at 420 F for about 20 minutes until the cheese is bubbling and golden brown on top.

Buon appetito!

Purple Cauliflower Salad Recipe



  • one (medium-small) purple cauliflower, thinly sliced
  • one (medium-small) white cauliflower, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 c. chopped kalamata olives
  • 1/2 c. whole kalamata olives
  • 1/2 c. chopped roasted red bell peppers
  • 1/3 c. finely chopped scallions
  • 1/3 c. olive oil
  • 1/4 c. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tsp. dried oregano
  • chopped fresh parsley
  • lemon wedges
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


Toss all ingredients except the cauliflower, lemon wedges, and parsley. Then fold in the cauliflower, let sit at least 20 minutes to blend flavors. Garnish with lemon wedges and parsley.

(recipe inspired by saveur.com)

Purple Cauliflower with Garlic & Saffron


Sautéed Purple Cauliflower with Garlic and Saffron

serves two as a meal, four as a side


  • 1 head purple cauliflower, washed, trimmed, and cut or broken into small 1 inch florets
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, divided
  • 1 medium head fresh hardneck garlic, or about 1/3 cup, sliced (reduce by half if using regular garlic)
  • pinch saffron threads
  • 1/2 – 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon spicy Hungarian paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground white pepper
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1 cup quinoa, cooked


1. Heat all but one tablespoon of the olive oil in a large cast iron, or otherwise heavy-bottomed, skillet over medium heat. Add the sliced garlic and saffron threads, turn the slices to coat with olive oil, and turn heat to low. Add a pinch of sea salt. Cook, nudging occasionally, for 20 – 25 minutes. Remove garlic from the skillet and set aside.

2. Turn heat up to medium-high, add the remaining olive oil, the florets, paprika, pepper, and a good-sized pinch or two of salt. Turn to coat the cauliflower, and cook until the edges have browned, and then flip. Cook for a total of about 10 minutes, until cauliflower is nicely browned and tender. When you approach the end of the cook time, add the rice wine vinegar and the cooked garlic. Toss gently, cook for a couple minutes longer, plate, and serve over quinoa.

(recipe inspired by brooklynsupper.net)

Preparing Romanesco


Try these ideas for preparing Romanesco:

  • Blanch the florets and then shock in an ice bath to maintain the bright color. Add to salads or veggie trays.
  • Romanesco is delicious with pasta. Keep it simple by tossing with pasta Parmesean cheese and olive oil.
  • Roast or sautée in olive oil with onions and garlic and crushed red pepper flakes if desired.
  • Use in casseroles or any other recipe instead of broccoli or cauliflower, but cook for a shorter amount of time.

Most important: Don’t overcook it. Maintain the unique shape and color by not overcooking.

Health Benefits

Romanesco’s nutritional value is similar to cauliflower’s or broccoli’s but it contains more carotene and mineral salts. It is a rich source of vitamin C, and has high levels of iron and folate.