Cauliflower Gratin

A modified Thomas Keller recipe, because, let’s face it, no one can cook like Thomas Keller can!

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One head of Cauliflower
White vinegar
3 tablespoons of butter
About 1/2 cup shallots chopped fine
Sprig of fresh thyme
Sprig of fresh Italian parsley
One bay leaf
1 cup heavy cream
Salt and black pepper to taste
1/2 grated Emmentalier cheese
2 tablespoons panko bread crumbs
2 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese

Trim the green outer leaves from the cauliflower.  Cut the florets away from the stems.  Cut the florets into small pieces, about an inch each.  Take the core of the cauliflower and slice off the tough outer skin.  Put the tender part of the core and the stems into a food processor and process until pureed.
Bring a large sauce pan of water to the boil.  Add salt and a teaspoon of vinegar to the water.  Blanche the cauliflower florets in the boiling water for about 2 minutes.  Drain and put into a bowl and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Put the butter into the sauce pan and add the shallots.  Saute over medium low heat for about 5 minutes.  Add the cauliflower puree (the stems and core) to the shallots along with 1/2 cup of water and the fresh herbs (bay leaf, parsley and thyme).  Bring to a boil, then simmer for about 5 minutes to cook the cauliflower.  Add the cream and cook at a simmer for 3 more minutes.  Remove the herbs from the cream and disgard.  (Mr. Keller now blends this cream in a blender until smooth because he likes to use every appliance in the kitchen I think.  I’ve blended it, but I’ve also skipped this step and just left it a little chunky)  Toss the cauliflower florets with the cream.  Dump the cauliflower into a small casserole dish topping it with the bread crumbs and two cheeses.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.  Bake the cauliflower in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes until it is well browned on top and bubbling.

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