Cauliflower Cheese Toasties


The recipe this week isn’t really a recipe, more of an assemblage of items that come together in a quick and easy way. It is a deliciously simple deja food, perfect for a quick Monday supper using the cauliflower¹ from Sunday’s lunch.

I love cauliflower cheese. The delicate flavour of the cauliflower is the perfect foil for the rich and savoury cheese sauce, but the dish lacks texture. The solution is to put the cauliflower and cheese sauce inside a fresh bread roll. With the majority of the crumb removed, the hollowed out crust is the perfect container to hold both cauliflower and cheesy sauce. What emerges from the oven has all the qualities that make cauliflower cheese so great, with the added crunch of freshly-baked crusty bread. The addition of some freshly-grated nutmeg over the top is a top tip I picked up from Mrs Frazer, the doyenne of 18th century Scottish cookery.

Best of all it bakes in the oven in just 20 minutes.

Cauliflower Cheese Toasties

There are no hard and fast quantities for this, aside from the cheese sauce, because you can make as many or as few as you want/need.

cooked cauliflower¹
bread rolls²
cheese sauce

For the cheese sauce:
40g unsalted butter
50g plain flour
450ml milk
125g strong cheddar – grated
1/2 tsp mustard powder
salt and pepper to taste
freshly grated nutmeg

  • Cut out the top of the roll(s), leaving a 2cm border.
  • Remove the crumb.
  • Arrange florets of cooked cauliflower inside the hollow roll. Don’t jam them in too tightly – you want to leave room for the sauce to drip down and fill the gaps.
  • Make the cheese sauce. This can be done in advance and spooned over the cauliflower when required.
    • Melt the butter in a pan.
    • Add the flour and stir over medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Use a whisk to eliminate any lumps.
    • Gradually pour in the milk in two or three batches, whisking briskly, and continue to whisk while the milk heats and the sauce thickens.
    • Add the mustard powder and the cheese and whisk while the cheese melts.
    • Taste, and add pepper and salt as required.
  • Spoon the sauce over the cauliflower.
  • Grate over some nutmeg.
  • Heat the oven to 200°C, 180°C Fan.
  • Placed the filled roll(s) on a baking sheet lined with a silpat or baking parchment.
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes (depending on the size of the rolls) until heated through and browned.
  • Enjoy as is or with salad.

¹ For deliciously al dente cooked cauliflower, break cauliflower into florets and place in a steamer pan. Steam for 10 minutes over boiling water. Remove and enjoy immediately or set aside to cool until required.

² Almost any roll will do, but I have a couple of recommendations. Ciabatta rolls, or some of the more rustic rolls you can find in the supermarket bakery aisle make for ideal sturdy containers. White or wholemeal are both suitable. Curiously, I found crusty rolls are too dry for my tastes, but each to his/her own.

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