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Cauliflower Au Gratin
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5 from 2 votes

Julia Child Cauliflower Au Gratin

Julia Child Cauliflower Au Gratin side dish recipe from Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking made with bechamel sauce and blanched cauliflower
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 30 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: French
Keyword: Casserole, Cauliflower, Julia Child
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 358kcal
Author: April Golightly


  • 1 Cauliflower cut into florets
  • 8 quarts water
  • 1 Cup Whole Milk
  • 1 1/2 Tsp Salt

Sauce Mornay

  • 2 Tbsp Salted Butter
  • 3 Tbsp Flour
  • 2 Cups Whole Milk Unbleached
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 1/4 Cup Swiss Cheese Freshly Grated
  • 1/4 Cup Parmesan Freshly Grated
  • Pinch Nutmeg
  • Pinch Cayenne Pepper
  • 2 Tbsp breadcrumbs Plain
  • 2 Tbsp Swiss Cheese Finely Grated
  • 2 Tbsp Salted Butter Melted


Bechamel Sauce

  • Start with a heavy bottom saucepan heated to low heat.
  • Melt the 2 tablespoons of butter in the saucepan.
  • Then, add the 3 tablespoons of unbleached flour mixing the butter and flour together with a wooden spoon.
  • Let the butter and flour cook for one minute while you keep it moving so that it does not stick or burn.
  • Add the 2 cups of whole milk into the pot in one pour.
  • Then, turn up the heat to medium-high.
  • Whisk constantly keeping the sauce moving and making sure nothing sticks and burns at the bottom of the pot.
  • Bring the bechamel sauce to a boil and let boil for 1 minute.
  • Then, take the sauce off the heat.
  • Now, you have a basic bechamel sauce to act as a base for your Mornay Sauce.

Mornay Sauce Recipe

  • To make the mornay sauce, you will start with the bechamel sauce you made above.
  • Add in 1/4 cup of freshly grated swiss cheese and freshly grated parmesan cheese. Mix the cheese in until it is melted completely.
  • Mix in a pinch of nutmeg and pinch of cayenne pepper spices.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Set aside the mornay cheese sauce while you blanch the cauliflower.

How to Blanch Cauliflower?

  • Cut a head of cauliflower into florets.
  • Boil a pot of salted water with 1 cup of milk.
  • Then, add the cauliflower florets to the pot of boiling water.
  • Boil for 9 minutes and strain. Cauliflower should be able to pierce with a fork easily.
  • Then, in a large bowl add cold water with ice cubes to blanch the cauliflower. Blanching stops the cooking process.
  • Once the cauliflower is cold to the touch (5 to 10 minutes), you can strain it again and set aside.

Cauliflower Au Gratin Recipe

  • Preheat oven to 375 Degrees F.
  • To make the cauliflower au gratin, layer 1/3 of the mornay cheese sauce in an 8-inch pyrex dish about 2 inches deep.
  • Add the blanched cauliflower florets on top of the mornay sauce.
  • Add the remainder of the mornay cheese sauce on top of the cauliflower.
  • Mix together 2 tablespoons of breadcrumbs and 2 tablespoons of finely grated Swiss Cheese. Add on top of the cauliflower as evenly as possible.
  • Melt the 2 tablespoons of butter in the microwave (~ 30 seconds) or by placing it on top of the oven while it preheats.
  • Drizzle the melted butter on top of the cauliflower.
  • Add the cauliflower au gratin to the oven on a high rack to warm the cauliflower and brown the top of the cauliflower au gratin.
  • When the top is browned, served immediately.


Sodium: 1349mg | Calcium: 471mg | Vitamin C: 69.3mg | Vitamin A: 800IU | Sugar: 12g | Fiber: 3g | Potassium: 681mg | Cholesterol: 63mg | Calories: 358kcal | Saturated Fat: 13g | Fat: 23g | Protein: 15g | Carbohydrates: 24g | Iron: 1.2mg